March 10, 2012
RALEIGH, NC - The Fayetteville State Lady Broncos have played one of the most difficult schedules in the nation. And they've paid for it.
Now, though, it may be paying off.
The Lady Broncos, behind the strong pitching of Rebecca Polashek and Tia Caldwell, and balance throughout the lineup, began CIAA league play at the CIAA Roundup on Friday, showing that they may still be a team to be reckoned with in the conference standings.
Fayetteville State succumbed to a late rally to fall 3-2 to Bowie State in a game in which the Lady Broncos led for nearly six full innings before winning for the first time this season with a dominating 8-0 victory over Lincoln (PA) (0-2, 0-2) at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex in Raleigh.
"We've played a difficult nonconference schedule in order to prepare for CIAA play," said Fayetteville State coach Miguel "Coach Who" Justiniano. "We feel like we can compete well in conference play, and it's because we're tougher for having played the schedule we have."
Polasheck earned her first win of her Fayetteville State career with four dominant innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four. Caldwell, who joined the team as it played a harrowing slate of games in the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla., last week, pitched two scoreless innings, fanning two and not allowing a hit to pick up the save.
Ashley Wlezen belted a home run while Maya Washington and Clarissa Pitts each had a pair of hits and drive in a run to pace the Lady Broncos at the plate. Lashanda Washington had two RBI and Caldwell had one.
Fayetteville State (1-20, 1-1) was in control from the start, taking a 2-0 lead after the first inning. The Lady Broncos led 3-0 through two innings, 4-0 through the fourth and scored three times to a take a 7-0 lead after five innings. Fayetteville State ended the game by the mercy rule with a run in the sixth.
The Lady Broncos were in position to beat the Lady Bulldogs, taking a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning. But Bowie State (2-2, 2-0) put together a two-out, two-run rally to tie the game, then won it in the seventh on Raenelle Taylor's game-winning single.
Fayetteville State plays at 11:30 a.m. against Virginia State and then again at 3:30 p.m. against Chowan on Saturday.