April 4, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - The only question was whether the Livingstone Blue Bears were going to be able to put the ball in play.
The answer: Barely.
Tia Caldwell set a new career record with 16 strikeouts, dominating the Blue Bears' lineup to win for the fourth time this season in a 5-1 victory in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.
And behind a gusty effort by Rebecca Polasheck, the Lady Broncos (8-33, 8-6) won the second game 11-3 in five innings, keeping their hopes of garnering a No. 2 seed out of the CIAA's Southern Division alive.
Caldwell (Fr., Newport, N.C.) was virtually unhittable - even for outs - in the early going. She was perfect through four innings, fanning the first nine batters she faced and 11 of the first 12. She did not give up a hit until the fifth inning, and was touched only for an unearned run in the sixth. Caldwell struck out the side four times.
Maya Washington (So., Red Springs, N.C.) was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Fayetteville State while Jessica Randolph (So., Pinetops, N.C.) was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Ashley Wlezen (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.) drove in two runs and Caldwell helped herself with a run-scoring single as the Lady Broncos banged out 10 hits.
Polasheck (So., Raeford, N.C.) gave up three unearned runs in the top of the first inning of the second game after the Lady Broncos struggled out of the gate on defense and committed three errors.
But Polasheck didn't let the start faze her, and responded with three perfect innings. She retired 13 straight in the stretch and held the Blue Bears (4-13, 2-13) scoreless for the rest of the game. Polasheck struck out six and only allowed three hits.
Meanwhile, the Lady Broncos rallied from the early deficit, getting RBI from Randolph and Wlezen to make it 3-2 after the first inning. Fayetteville State continued to pour it on from there, getting a run-scoring single from Sierra Henderson-Holmes (Fr., Olivia, N.C.) and a two-run single from Randolph to break the game open in the fourth inning, leading 7-3.
The Lady Broncos ended the game early with four more runs in the fifth, with Randolph's two-run single making it 11-3 with two outs in the inning.
Randolph was 2-for-4 with a season-high five RBI in the second game while Sencerae Locklear (Fr., Fairmont, N.C.) added two RBI. Maya Washington added three more hits and scored three runs in the second win.
Fayetteville State travels to play St. Augustine's on Thursday and could wrap up second place in the division standings with a sweep. The Lady Broncos would then close their regular season against Mt. Olive on Tuesday before preparing for the CIAA Softball Tournament a week later.
The Lady Broncos honored breast cancer awareness by wearing pink jerseys for the game. Edna Justiniano, the wife of Fayetteville State head coach Miguel "Coach Who" Justiniano and an 18-year breast cancer survivor, was honored before the game and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.