April 5, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - Tia Caldwell is on a roll.
Less than 24 hours after she struck out a career-high 16 batters in leading Fayetteville State to an easy win over Livingstone, Caldwell fanned 12 and flirted with a perfect game as the Lady Broncos romped past St. Augustine's 10-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday.
Fayetteville State (10-33, 10-6), which has won five of its last six games and four straight, won the second game 11-4 with Rebecca Polasheck earning her fifth win of the year with four strong innings before Caldwell came on for three scoreless innings to record her third save of the season.
Caldwell (Fr., Newport, N.C.), who also won for the fifth time this season, was one out away from completing the perfect game before a late error. She allowed just one hit and one run, which was unearned.
She improved to 5-2 in CIAA games and lowered her ERA in conference games to just 1.50. Caldwell, who has struck out 113 in 93 innings, has whiffed 88 in just 54 innings pitched in league games. She is holding opponents to a .148 batting average in CIAA play and has given up just six extra base hits.
Maya Washington (So., Red Springs, N.C.), who had three hits in each game against Livingstone on Wednesday and is batting .456 in CIAA games, added three more hits in the first game Thursday, scoring two runs. Sencerae Locklear (Fr., Fairmont, N.C.) was 2-for-3 with two RBI while Clarissa Pitts (Fr., Hope Mills, N.C.) drove in three and Sierra Henderson-Holmes (Fr., Olivia, N.C.) had two RBI for the Lady Broncos, who banged out 11 hits. Ashley Wlezen (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.) and Jessica Randolph (So., Pinetops, N.C.) also had an RBI apiece.
Polasheck (So., Raeford, N.C.), whose league ERA dropped to 3.28, shook off some shaky defense in the early going to preserve a lead for the Lady Broncos through four innings. She allowed four runs - one earned - and gave up just four hits before giving way to Caldwell, who struck out six.
Nia Trawick (So., Fayetteville, N.C.), Henderson-Holmes and Wlezen had two RBI each, with Wlezen ripping three hits and Henderson-Holmes two. Pitts and Randolph each drove in a run.
The wins keep Fayetteville State in the hunt for the No. 2 seed out of the CIAA's Southern Division for the upcoming league tournament. The Lady Broncos close the regular season with a home doubleheader against Mt. Olive on Tuesday. Games will begin at 3 p.m.