Kali Piha3The University of Arkansas at Monticello softball team opened the 2014 season with a pair of wins over Christian Brothers on Saturday at home, needing only five innings to take the opener 9-1 and collecting a 2-0 shutout in the second half of the double header.

In the opener, UAM outhit CBU 13-3 and used three runs in each of the first and second innings to take an early lead. Senior Brittany Eitel opened the scoring with a two-run double in the first inning, followed two batters later by an RBI double from junior Sydney Tipton.

CBU answered with an unearned run in the top of the second, before UAM took a 6-1 lead on three run-producing at bats in the bottom half. Senior Channing Tharpe started the rally with an RBI triple into the right center gap and was driven in on sac fly from sophomore Kali Piha two batters later. Senior Beth Johnson capped the inning’s scoring with an RBI groundout to score senior Hannah Pendley, who reached on an infield single, stole second and moved to third on Piha’ sac fly.

UAM went to the long ball for two of its final three runs. Piha went deep to left center in the fourth, and junior Lacy Blanchard took one over the scoreboard in right field in the fifth. UAM secured the run-rule victory on an RBI single from Piha to score sophomore Taylor Norris, who was pinch-running for freshman Korie Parker. Parker singled through the left side of the infield following Blanchard’s round-tripper.

Junior Katie Slaughter (1-0) collected the complete-game victory, allowing just one run (unearned) off three hits in five innings. Kim Adams (0-1) took the loss for CBU after giving up seven runs off eight hits in the first four innings.

In the second half of the twin bill, UAM broke a scoreless tie with one run in each of the fifth and sixth innings as senior hurler Courtney Wilson (1-0) tossed a three-hit shutout to complete the season-opening sweep.

Eitel again was responsible for the first score of the game with an RBI single in the fifth to score Piha, who drew a one-out walk earlier in the inning. The Blossoms capped the scoring with back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning from junior Sara Matthews and freshman McKenzie Rice.

UAM is back in action next weekend at the Southeastern Regional Invitational in Durant, Okla., starting Saturday, February 8 against Central Missouri at 10 a.m.