VANCOUVER — The UBC Thunderbirds (5-5, 4-2) settled into their new digs with a 7-5 victory over the Providence University Argonauts (0-8, 0-6) by a sunny Saturday afternoon at Collings Field in Noble Park. The doubleheader backstory saw the T-Birds earn a 6-2 win over the Argos in non-Coastal Collegiate Conference action to cap an undefeated home opener weekend at the Point Gray campus.
“It’s so rewarding,” said UBC head coach Gord Collings after the ‘Birds picked up four straight wins on their home debut. “Seeing everyone come out and support for the first weekend in history at UBC is what the girls have been waiting for all these years. I am thrilled that they now have the opportunity to play at home in front of their friends and family.”
Game 1 – UBC 7, Providence 5
After three scoreless innings in the first game, the ‘Birds exploded for four runs in the fourth after a first hat-trick by Mia Valcke threw the T-Birds bats.
T-Birds Mia Valcke throws a standing triple to center right triggering a 4-run 4th inning for the hosts now 4-0 at Collings Field! pic.twitter.com/JPbpbJTf17
— UBC Thunderbirds (@ubctbirds) March 5, 2022
Nicole Salas brought Valcke down with an RBI single to the right before a Emma Dorval RBI double line-drive marked Kaitlyn Eng for a 2-0 lead. Emily Sherritt went on to win an RBI Bunt single and Arshleen Bajwa scored after a Providence error at 3-0 UBC. The ‘Birds weren’t done yet, as Sherritt stole second place and Emma Dorval stole home to cap the thrilling inning with a 4-0 advantage.
The Argos fought back with a five-run fifth inning, as Jaelena Trujillo came in as a pincher and hit an RBI run after first base for Providence’s first inning. Taylor Mathews followed that up with a two-run single to the left that brought the Argos within a run at 4-3. After a walk, UBC’s Shae Sever relieved starting pitcher Shelby Kempel – but Sever gave up a deep two-run brace against McKenna Montgomery to give Providence a 5-4 advantage.
Sever struck out three consecutive Argos batters in the top of the sixth before Kaitlyn Kim entered the game in the top of the seventh for UBC as a pinch hitter and threw a two-RBI liner left and regained the lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, Valcke got an RBI single through center field and the ‘Birds took a 7-5 lead in the seventh. Sever sat three straight batters to secure the save, while Kempel racked up six strikeouts over four and two-thirds innings for the win.
Game 2 – UBC 6, Providence 2
The visitors got on the board early in the second game, as Macy Mangold flew home to open the scoring in the first. Ryen Palmer stole home in the second inning as Trujillo stole second base for a 2-0 lead, but UBC scored three on three hits in the fourth. Olivia Malesku drove in two points with a deep liner in left field to tie it up, and Gabrielle Dorval dropped a double into center field for a one-run lead.
Hannah Clegg scored on an Argos error for a 4-2 T-Bird advantage in the fifth before a deep sack steal by Keona Nordquist brought Emma Dorval for a 5-2 cushion before the sixth. Malesku doubled to right center field and scored on a sacrificial volley deep to center by Valcke to make it 6-2. Lindsay Bell picked up the win with three strikeouts in seven innings for the Thunderbirds.
Game 1: 7-5W
Game 2: 6-2 W pic.twitter.com/qrOlabHfTr
— UBC Thunderbirds (@ubctbirds) March 6, 2022
“The pitch was a little slower today and we hit too much,” Collings said as the T-Birds fended off a strong push from Providence to solidify the series sweep. “Our timing wasn’t good, and we weren’t prepared for this slower pitcher – but sometimes it takes them a while to adapt, and they eventually did. We still had outstanding defense today, especially that play from Nordquist at second base… also the fly ball and the home throw. I can’t say enough about the way we play defense. It’s just brilliant.
UBC is back on the road next weekend to take on Eastern Oregon University on March 11and and 12and in La Grande, Oregon, while Providence hosts the Southern Oregon University Raiders.