Megan Brownell photojournalist
Gorilla softball team opened their 2023 season with five games at the DII spring invitational kickoff. They went 1-4, throughout the weekend.
On day one, they first faced St. Edward’s University. The Gorillas started off well, scoring their first run in the first inning. St. Edward’s responded with two runs of their own in the second to take the lead. After three scoreless innings, PSU tied the game up with one run in the sixth inning. St. Edward’s was able to pull away with the win though, thanks to a line drive in the bottom of the seventh to hand PSU a 3-2 loss.
Head coach Jenny Fuller says how she feels the team did over the weekend against some tough teams.
“I feel that we competed really hard, we played top 25 teams out of one of the toughest conferences in the country and even though we lost we competed well and it helps prepare us for conference play later on.” Fuller said.
In game one of day two, the Gorillas and Texas A&M International (TAMUI) battled it out with five scoreless innings, before TAMUI was able to score one run in the bottom of the fifth. The Gorillas were unable to score, from a no hitter for TAMUI. The only Gorillas able to get on base were redshirt junior outfielder Kylee Bohle from a walk because of being hit by the pitch, and sophomore outfielder Josi Solano from an error.
In game two on day two, they played St. Mary’s University. The Gorillas got down early from one run in the first, but scored two of their own in the second inning and one run in the third to take the lead 3-1. St. Mary’s took the lead back in the fifth inning from three runs to make it 4-3. They scored one more run in the sixth to extend their lead, and after two scoreless innings for PSU, St. Mary’s took the win 5-3. Looking back at the energy during the tournament, Fuller described as confident, winning or losing.
“Every time I looked in the dugout they were cheering and in it and they never were totally defeated even when we were losing,” Fuller said. “The team has good moral and believes they can compete with anyone in the country.”
On day three, the Gorillas first took on Angelo State University and were able to pull out their first win 3-2 to the number 18 ranked Rams. PSU started off strong, scoring one run in the first inning to take an early lead. The Rams scored two of their own in the third inning to take the lead, and after two scoreless innings the Gorillas scored two of their own in the sixth to take back their lead. They were able to hold on in the seventh and take home the upset win.
Junior utility player, Paxton Hayes says how she feels about the upset win and highlights of the weekend overall.
“A highlight from this weekend was beating a nationally ranked team from last year (Angelo State) and my team having energy almost all weekend,” Hayes said.
In their last game, they played Texas Woman’s University (TWU). The teams battled for five scoreless innings, before TWU scored three runs in the sixth to take a lead. The Gorillas were unable to respond with runs on their own taking a 3-0 loss.
They will play next at the Bentonville Tournament on Feb. 10 and Saturday Feb. 11. They will ake on Southern Arkansas University and Harding University day one, and then Southeastern Oklahoma University and Henderson State University on day two. Hayes says how she feels going into the tournament and getting back to work.
“We are going to get back to work this week and I think we have a good shot of doing some awesome things in Bentonville,” Hayes said.