BATON ROUGE, La. -- The spring couldn't have opened any better for the Northern Colorado softball program after a 13-4 rout of Southern to kick off the 2012 campaign Thursday at Lady Jaguars Field.
From the look of the Bears' offense, you couldn't tell it was opening day though, as the squad knocked around the Southern pitching staff to the tune of 17 hits, including four apiece for senior Erin Geddis and junior Lindsey Smith.
"Today, we showed what our offense is capable of all season," Northern Colorado coach Mark Montgomery said. "I thought everybody up and down the lineup had good, solid at-bats. We were really just rolling."
Smith, one of 13 new faces on Montgomery's roster this season, started off her Northern Colorado career with a bang -- going 4-for-4 with a walk on the day. The transfer from Centenary College also knocked in her first RBI with the Bears and notched a run.
As one of the few senior stalwarts for the Bears, Geddis is expected to step into a leadership role this season for Montgomery and did not disappoint in the opener. She finished the day going 4-for-5 from the plate with one RBI. Batting in the two-spot in the lineup, she did a good job of setting the table -- scoring three runs on the afternoon.
It was more than just the offense though that impressed on opening-day. The Bears performance in the circle, led by freshman Kelci Cheney, was also sharp.
Cheney, a native of Terrell, Texas, made her first start for the Bears and pitched well -- throwing two strong shutout innings while letting up just one hit and no walks.
Cheney's performance was matched by sophomore Megan Wilkinson and junior Jamie Pollack.
Wilkinson entered the game in the third inning after replacing freshman Mikayla Duffy and threw 2.2 innings of shutout softball. She struck out two while allowing just a lone walk.
Pollack, a transfer from Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, also pitched well in her Northern Colorado debut. She wrapped up the game with two more shutout innings, while allowing no hits and striking out a batter.
"Our pitching staff was awesome today," Montgomery said. "Even the hits (Southern) got off Mikayla (Duffy) weren't squared up. Her line looked worse than she pitched today. I thought all of our pitchers threw well.
"It's good to get our early-season jitters out of the way before we move onto this tournament this weekend. I'm excited to see what happens."
Next up for the Bears is a short trip to Hammond, La. to play in the Lion Classic, hosted by Southeastern Louisiana. Northern Colorado opens up the tournament Friday, Feb. 10 with games against Akron and Jackson State at 11: 30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively.