Maroons Kick Off 2023 Season With Wins Over Concordia Chicago, Simmons

Kate Houle hit two home runs on Day 1 in Florida.
Kate Houle hit two home runs on Day 1 in Florida.

The Basics
Score: Roanoke 4, Concordia Chicago 1
Records: Maroons 1-0, Cougars 2-2
Location: Auburndale, Fla.

The Lead: The Roanoke softball team opened up their 2023 season a little later than first thought, but it was worth the wait as the Maroons opened with a 4-1 win over Concordia Chicago as part of their annual Spring Break trip. The Maroons followed up with an 8-3 win over the Sharks of Simmons 


  • After a scoreless first inning, and two outs, Madison Courts reached first on an error by the shortstop and advanced to second on the error. Next up for the Maroons was Rachel Sirbaugh to left the ball into deep left field for a double that allowed Courts to trade places with her and score the first run of the game, putting the Maroons ahead 1-0 after two innings. 
  • With one out in the fourth, Kate Houle launched a ball to near dead-center field for a solo home run, extending the Maroons' lead to 2-0. After the Cougars got the second out, Sirbaugh singled to center field for her second hit of the game before Makayla Austin hit a deep double to center field that allowed Sirbaught to round the bases to push the Roanoke lead to 3-0 after four. 
  • A solo home run by CCU in the fifth cut the lead down to 3-1, but the Maroons added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when a pair of doubles, first by Meri Bostic and then by Adriana Rivera allowed Bostic to score and put the Maroons back up by three; a lead they held on to for the 4-1 season-opening win.

The Basics
Score: Roanoke 8, Simmons 3
Records: Maroons 2-0; Sharks 2-3
Location: Auburndale, Fla.

The Lead: The Maroons followed up their game one victory with an 8-3 win over the Sharks of Simmons in game two of the day with another strong performance in Florida.


  • Roanoke picked up where they left off in their first game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. With one out, Sirbaugh drew a walk and two batters later Houle hit her second home run of the day with a two-run shot almost to the same spot as game one for a 2-RBI hit and a 2-0 Maroon lead. 
  • The next inning saw Austin lead off by reaching first on a throwing error by the third basewoman while Sammie Murphy followed up with a bunt, single that put runners on first and second with just one out. Bostic was next up to bat and hit a single to center that saw Austin reach third safely and then cross the plate after the centerfielder made a throwing error in an attempt to tag her out as she went home. This gave the Maroons a 3-0 lead after four. 
  • The fifth inning didn't start the way Roanoke wanted as the first two batters flew out to left and center fields. However, Lilly Burns followed in Houle's example and hit a blast over the left field fence for her first home run of the season, giving Roanoke the 4-0 lead. Austin and Katelyn Craghead followed up each with a hit that put runners on second and third. Molly Epperson came in to pinch hit for Murphy and hit a deep single to left that saw both Austin and Craghead score, extending the Maroon lead to 6-0. 
  • The sixth inning saw the Sharks cut the Roanoke lead in half with three runs in the top of the frame. The Maroons answered right back with a pair of runs in the bottom part of the inning. With one out, Courts hit a triple down the left field line that scored Sirbaugh, who had reached on a fielding error at first base. Houle collected her third hit of the day with a single down the left field line that Courts scored on giving the Maroons an 8-3 lead after six. With the Sharks unable to tie the game in the top of the seventh, the Maroons collected their second win of the day and second win of the season.

By the Numbers:

  • Jada Karnes pitched a complete game against Concordia Chicago to collect her first win of the season. She gave up just one run and struck out 11. She also made an appearance in relief in game two against the Sharks, pitching the seventh inning and collecting two more strikeouts to bring her total to 13 on the day.
  • Lindsay Gedro got the win in game two pitching the first six innings with six strikeouts and allowing just three runs. 
  • Sirbaugh finished game one with two hits and game two with one to lead the Maroons on their first day in Florida. 
  • Houle had six career home runs in her first two complete seasons with the Maroons before belting her two on the day for 25% of her career total. She batted .327 on the day and slugged 1.125 while collecting four RBIs
  • In total, the Maroons collected 18 hits on the day while striking out just five times over the two games.

Up next: The Maroons play another two games in Florida on Wednesday, starting with a contest against Itasca CC (Minn.) at 12:30 p.m. and follow up with a 2 p.m. contest against Mount Mercy at 2:00 p.m.