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Nielsen, Cox lead Twins to season-opening victory

March 11, 2018 04:22 pm Updated: March 12, 2018 09:14 am

MYRTLE BEACH, SC -- Rachel Nielsen tripled, doubled and pitched a complete game five-hitter and Baylee Cox drilled a clutch double in their collegiate debuts as Columbia-Greene Community College defeated Monroe, 3-2, at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

Nielsen and Monroe's Brooke Kane settled into a pitcher's duel early on and neither team could push across the run until the top of the fourth when Monroe's Breanna Kuhner led off the frame with an inside-the-park home run to deep left field.

Columbia-Greene answered in the bottom of the fourth when Nielsen blasted her triple to right and scored on Jackie Gehring's RBI single to left.

The score remained deadlocked at 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth when with one out Gehring singled to right and pinch-hitter Jenna Rippel was hit by a pitch. One out later, Cox stepped in and deposited a Kane pitch into the left field corner, plating Gehring and Ripple with what prove to be the decisive runs.

Monroe, a Division I junior college, wouldn't go away easily in the top of the seventh. Kimberly Zapata and Kortney Semper singled and Kuhner walked, loading the bases with one out. Chantel Winstead grounded out to third for the second out, with a run scoring on the play to make it 3-2. Nielsen put an end to the threat, however, striking out Veronica Casanova to end the game and preserve the Twins' first victory of the season.

The Twins collected nine hits, with Nielsen's triple and double and Cox's double the only extra base hits. Cox also singled. Gehring added three singles and Lauren Bowes and Tori Popp both singled.

Kuhner singled and homered to lead Monroe's  five-hit attack.

Nielsen finished with four strikeouts and four walks.

Kane took the loss, striking out seven, walking one and hitting a batter.

Columbia-Greene (1-0) returns to action with two games in the Snowbird Tournament on Monday in Myrtle Beach. The Twins will play Delaware Technical Community College at 9 a.m. and then take on Wells College at 11 a.m.

-- Tim Martin