PHILADELPHIA - Shelby Taylor pitched 11.2 strong innings for the Drexel softball team, as they split a doubleheader with George Mason on Saturday, dropping the first game 5-3 before winning the second, 4-3. Taylor came in for the final 4.2 innings of the first game, holding the Patriots scoreless over that stretch, before pitching a complete game in the second. Maddison Timoteo homered and went 3-for-3 in the second game, as Paige Collings also drove in two runs to help Drexel get an important victory.
The Dragons (21-23, 6-10) are now just 1.5 games behind Towson for the fourth and final CAA Tournament berth with four conference games remaining. The Tigers were swept in a doubleheader against Hofstra on Saturday.
George Mason jumped all over the Dragons early in the first game, scoring a run in the first inning after Hillary Allen retired the first two hitters, then scoring four in the second. Tori Dudley's three-run home run to center field was the big blow, as the Patriots took a 5-0 lead.
The Dragons began to get back in the game in the bottom of that inning. Jenn Reading lined a single to right, followed by a ground ball to first by Timoteo. Mason's first baseman, Katie Rynex, threw to second trying to get the lead runner, but the throw went wide as Reading was safe on the error and Timoteo reached on the fielder's choice. Allen lined a single up the middle to load the bases, and Amanda Bachmann drove in a run with a base hit of her own back up the middle. Caprice DeMirjian then plated Sylvia Llamas, who had run for Timoteo, with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Drexel scored another unearned run in the third. With Collings on second, Taylor hit a grounder between first and second that forced second baseman Brooke Blankenship to her left. She bobbled the ball as Taylor reached safely, then tried to throw Taylor out at first anyway, throwing the ball away. That allowed Collings to come around and score, cutting the deficit to 5-3.
After a 1-2-3 fourth inning, the Dragons got runners on in each of the final three frames, but could not push across any more runs as George Mason held on for the win.
In the second game, the Patriots once again took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. In the bottom of the inning, however, Timoteo stepped up and launched her sixth home run of the season, deep over the left field fence.
That was not the end of the inning for the Dragons. They would eventually load the bases with two outs and Devon Metcalf at the plate. Casey Herring, who started for the Patriots, then uncorked a wild pitch. DeMirjian, who was on third, scampered home with the Dragons' second run. Then, after Metcalf walked, Collings roped one down the left field line into the corner. Comfort Ahonkhai and Hanna Parrish came around to score on Collings' double, which gave her 39 runs batted in this season, a total which ties the school's all-time single season mark.
Taylor ran into a bit of trouble in the third inning, when Blankenship walked and Emily Lafferty singled to get the inning started. Both came home to score on an RBI single by Megan Blank, but Taylor shut the door from there. The Patriots scratched out three more hits, but could not even the score as the Dragons held on, 4-3.
Drexel and the Patriots will conclude their three-game series on Sunday with Senior Day for Drexel. The Dragons' five seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony set to begin 15 minutes prior to first pitch. As a result, fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 10:45 a.m.