FAIRFAX, Va.-- The Akron softball team split a pair of games at the Cherry Blossom Classic on Sunday. The tournament was cut to only one day of competition due to inclement weather on Saturday.
In the opener, the Zips fell to Cornell (2-4 overall) in an 8-7 loss in extra innings. Akron (9-11 overall) finished the afternoon with an 8-0 shutout victory over host George Mason (1-12 overall).
In the opener, Cornell jumped on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second inning from a sacrifice fly out to right field, which drove in its first run.
The Zips answered back and scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning. A fielding error by the shortstop allowed senior OF Taylor Kirian (New Riegel, Ohio) to score Akron's first run of the game. An RBI single to center field from junior 2B Caitlin Gambone (Canton, Ohio), gave the Zips a 2-1 edge.
Cornell capitalized on an error on the pitcher and scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning, which tied the game 2-2. The Big Red scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth from a fielding error on the center fielder, and an RBI single to center field.
In the top of the sixth inning, junior SS Jenna Jones (Fulton, Ill.) hit a two-RBI single to left field that tied the game 4-4. Jones then scored on a wild pitch that gave the Zips a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Cornell tied the game with an RBI double to left field, which sent the game into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth inning, Kirian scored on an error by the catcher. A ground out to shortstop allowed senior Carley Childress (Belknap, Ill.) to score, which gave Akron a 7-5 advantage. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Cornell hit three-run walk off homer to complete its 8-7 victory.
Freshman pitcher Lexie Handley (Mogadore, Ohio) got the start and pitched 4.1 innings, fanning four and walking one. Junior Nicole Best (Broadview Heights, Ohio) replaced her in the fourth inning and earned her third loss on the season (1-3).
In the afternoon match-up against host George Mason, the Zips earned an early 1-0 lead on an RBI triple to right field from senior 2B Anna Tarpley (Jacksonville, Fla.).
In the top of the second inning, Akron scored three runs. Jones had a two-RBI single down the left field line, and senior Alyssa Nicholas (Cortland, Ohio) hit an RBI single to right that gave the Zips a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The Zips added a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning. Junior 1B Cassie Gillespie (Sylvania, Ohio) stole home that added another run for Akron. Junior OF Ashley Sims (Brooksville, Fla.) scored on a wild pitch that increased the Zips lead to 6-0. Akron added two runs in the top of the seventh inning completing its 8-0 shutout victory over George Mason.
Handley (8-5) picked up eighth win of the season in the shutout. She struck out six batters, walked none, and only allowed two hits.
For the tournament, Jones batted .375 with three hits, three runs, and five RBI. Nicholas batted .500 with three hits, two runs, and an RBI.
Akron returns to action next weekend at the Morehead State Tournament in Morehead, Ky., on Saturday, March 18. The Zips will face Morehead State at 11 a.m., followed by Oakland at 3 pm.