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Toledo, OH - Toledo (5-17, 0-2 MAC) dropped another pair of close games on Friday afternoon in a slugfest with Miami (6-18, 2-0 MAC), 7-5 and 11-10. Both teams opened the conference portion of the schedule by combining for 57 hits on the day.
UT will be back in action at Scott Park on Saturday, March 30 against Ball State (16-10, 2-0 MAC). With threatening weather in the forecast for early Sunday, the Rockets and Cardinals will now play a doubleheader at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
The Midnight Blue & Gold never held a lead over Miami and came up just shy of completing an epic comeback in the later contest. The RedHawks seemed to have put the game away with a four-spot in the sixth inning and another score in the seventh for a commanding 11-5 lead. However, the Rockets roared back with six hits and five runs in their last chance, but stranded the tying run to end the game.
Miami jumped out to a quick 6-1 advantage in game one thanks to a pair of home runs in the top of the second, but Toledo answered in the next frame when junior Erinn Wright launched a grand slam with two strikes and two outs to cut the lead to one. That was all UT could muster up though, as MU plated another run in the fourth.
Hitters on both sides had outstanding efforts at the dish, led by UT senior Courtney McCarthy and MU junior Kayla Ledbetter who each went perfect in the second game.
McCarthy came off the bench during game one and finished 2-for-3 with a run scored, then went 4-for-4 and knocked in two runs later on.
Ledbetter had a career performance, going 3-for-3 with 2 RBI and single shy of the cycle in game one. She followed that up with two doubles and 4 RBI, while going deep for the second time for another perfect outing at 4-for-4 in game two.
The visitors out-slugged the home team 19-18 in the second game, as UT also received multi-hit efforts from senior Kristen Roznoski (2-for-5; 3 R), junior Lani Ernst (3-for-5; 2B, 3 RBI), senior Morgan Smith (3-for-4; SB) and sophmore Alyssa Smith (3-for-4; 2 R, 2 SB).
Each team knocked 10 hits apiece in the opening contest. Roznoski (2-for-4; 2 R) and Ernst (2-for-3; RBI) led the way with McCarthy and Wright.
Sophomore LHP Alli Beery (1.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R) and freshman 2B/RHP Marla Gooding (6.2 IP, 16 H, 8 R) were charged with a loss in each game, respectively.
MU's Megan Mattera (3-6) earned the win in both games.
YSPILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University softball team opened up the 2013 Mid-American Conference schedule with a 8-4 victory over in-state rival Central Michigan University Friday, March 29, at Varsity Field. An explosive third inning by the Green and White bats put the home team out of in front where they remained due to a strong late inning performance by Jenna Ignowski (Niles, Mich.-Niles).
The Eagles (10-12-1, 1-0 MAC) were led by senior shortstop Katy Blaharski (Carleton, Mich.-Airport) who went yard in the first at bat for the Eagles, her first of the season. Nellie Coquillard (Niles, Mich.-Niles), Amanda Stanton (Homer Glen, Ill.-Lockport) and Courtney Loe (Temperance, Mich.-Bedford (West Liberty)) all supplied run support, with three RBI's each. Right fielder Courtney Nicholson (Navarre, Ohio-Canton Central Catholic) went 1-for-3 with two runs scored to bolster the Eagles offense.
Ignowski (6-3) got the start for the Green and White, surrendering four runs, three earned, in her sixth complete game of the season. The Niles, Mich. native walked X and struck out X in her sixth win of the season. Kara Dornbos (3-6) was charged with the loss for Central Michigan. She was touched for five runs on four hits in just 2.1 innings, while Kristen Kuhlman surrendered three runs on four hits. Morgan Yuncker completed the game for Central without allowing a run.
The Chippewas used a two-run top of the first inning to get the scoring underway. Macy Merchant led off the inning with a single up the middle, before advancing to second on a stolen base. On the steal, an errant throw allowed Merchant to move up to third base. Merchant scored on a groundout to second by Summer Knoop. CarolAnn Sexauer ripped her fourth homer of the season in the next at-bat to give CMU an early 2-0 lead.
Blaharski chose not to fold by leading off the game with a long ball over the right-centerfield fence to cut into the 2-0 lead, bringing the Eagles within one, 2-1.
The Chippewas added to their lead in the third when they plated another. Knoop drew a walk and had Lauren Bowman run for her. Bowman came around to score an unearned run on the Eagles' fifth miscue of the ball game, giving Central a 3-1 edge.
The Eagles loaded the bases with one out on three straight base knocks in the bottom of the third bringing Coquillard to the plate. Coquillard took one off the leg to score Jenn Lucas (Pinckney, Mich.-Pinckney) and bring Eastern within one, 3-2. Stanton then ripped a double down the leftfield line to score a pair and give the Eagles its first lead, 4-3. Loe knocked a high fly ball to right centerfield which landed for a triple, scoring another pair of runs and putting the Eagles up 6-3. Mady Hostetler (New Haven, Ind.-Woodlan) roped a liner just out of reach of the central second baseman to score another run and give the Eagles a four run, 7-3, lead.
Nicholson drew a one out walk and was moved up to second on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth. Coquillard roped an RBI-double in the next at-bat to give EMU a five run, 8-3, lead heading into the fifth.
Sexauer led off the top of the fifth with a double to centerfield. She moved to third on a groundout to second from Trista Cox. Katelyn Rentschler roped a liner to left with Hostetler tracking it down to make the catch, but Sexauer scored from third to cut into the Chippewas' deficit, 8-4.
The Chips threatened in the top of the sixth when Merchant roped a two-out triple, but Ignowski shut down the Central offense and kept the Chippewas scoreless throughout the remainder of the game.
The Eagles are out of action until tomorrow Saturday, March 30, at Varsity Field when Central returns for the finale of this two-game series. Following the series finale, the Green and White will be off until Wednesday, April 3, when they play host to the Valparaiso Crusaders at Varsity Field for a doubleheader. The twinbill will start at 2 p.m., which is a change from the original start time of 3 p.m. due to the threat of darkness.
ATHENS, Ohio—Kent State's softball team began Mid-American Conference play by splitting a pair of games at the Ohio Softball Field against the host Bobcats on Friday afternoon. The Golden Flashes (10-12, 1-1 MAC) took the opener, 2-1, and fell 8-0 in the nightcap.
Sophomore Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) was terrific in her first conference outing of the season. Johnson (8-6) retired the final seven batters she faced in tossing her third two-hitter of the season. She recorded nine punch-outs and did not allow a hit over the final five innings of play. One of the two hits she allowed was driven over the left field fence by Adrienne Gebele to leadoff the second inning and give Ohio a 1-0 lead.
The Flashes trailed the entire game until rallying for two runs in the bottom of the sixth. An error by the Bobcats and a bunt single by sophomore Kim Kirkpatrick (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) put a pair of runners on with nobody out. Junior Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) doubled two batters later, allowing Lauren Kesterson (Everett, Wash.) to score. Kent State was unable to come through with another big hit, but was able to take the lead after Kirkpatrick scored on a wild pitch.
Gebele homered again to leadoff the second in the second game of the day. That remained the lone run entering the fifth inning. In the sixth, the Bobcats used the long ball to put six runs on the board. Caitlin Colvin got it started with her MAC-leading 13th home run of the season and D.J. Engleman capped it off with a three-run shot. Ohio added one final run in the seventh inning on Gebele's third home run on the day
Kent State managed to collect just two hits in defeat, a double by Ledford, and a single by senior Lauren Grimes (Tallmadge, Ohio).
Senior Lauren McNeil (Akron, Ohio) went strong for five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. McNeil recorded six strikeouts while allowing four earned runs on five hits.
Savannah Jo Dorsey (8-5) allowed just two hits in the shutout. The MAC's leader in strikeouts per seven innings, Dorsey did not record a single strikeout in the win. Lauren McClary (6-4) was the losing pitcher in the first game, allowing just four hits while striking out five batters.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University softball team (12-10, 0-2) lost both games in a doubleheader with Ball State Friday afternoon, falling to the Cardinals by a score of 4-1 in game one and 3-1 in game two.
Junior Erika Stratton collected the only Bowling Green hit in game one, going 1-for-3 with a single. Sophomore Paris Imholz (9-3) pitched extremely well for the Falcons, allowing just two earned runs and striking out five in 6.2 innings of play against the high powered Cardinals. Sophomore Jamie Kertes also saw action, allowing just two hits before recording the final Ball State out.
A pitchers’ duel carried a scoreless game into the sixth frame, where Ball State put up two runs on four hits in the top of the inning. The Cardinals added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh, crossing home plate on three hits to give Ball State the 4-0 lead.
The Falcons started to rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, starting with a Cardinal error to put senior Paige Berger on base. Berger moved to second after a ground out at first in the next at bat, eventually going to third base thanks to a wild pitch. Senior Adrienne Dick grounded out in the following at bat, allowing Berger to score on the throw to first base.
The Falcons were unable to score anymore in the bottom of the seventh, however, giving Ball State the 4-1 game one victory.
Berger collected two of the Falcons’ eight hits in game two, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Dick also collected two hits, going 2-for-3 in the second half of the doubleheader. Kertes (3-6) was credited with the loss after giving up two earned runs and striking out two in 6.0 innings.
Bowling Green scored the contest’s first run, crossing home plate once on two hits in the bottom of the third frame. Freshman Lexie Valone started the inning with a single to third base, eventually moving to second on a walk to senior Hannah Fulk. Berger then ripped a single to center field, bringing home Valone for the 1-0 Bowling Green lead.
The Cardinal bats woke up in the top of the seventh inning, starting with a leadoff double from Ball State’s Amanda Carpenter. A single in the following at bat brought Carpenter home, tying the contest at 1-1. Bowling Green was able to secure an out following the run, but a two-run home run from Ball State’s Jessica Craft in the following at bat gave the Cardinals the 3-1 lead. The Falcons were unable to secure another run in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Cardinals the 3-1 game two victory.
The Falcons are back in action Saturday, facing off against Miami in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team rallied to defeat Western Michigan, 12-5, in the home and Mid-American Conference opener at Mary M. Bell Field Friday.
After falling behind, 5-0, after three and a half innings, Northern Illinois (11-17, 1-0) scored multiple runs in the next three frames, with the big blow coming off the bat of Ashley Kopp in the bottom of the sixth, to post its first MAC win of the season. Leading 8-3 with the bases loaded and two outs, Kopp belted a grand slam, the first of her career, over the left field fence to give NIU a 12-5 lead heading into the final inning.
"We definitely had to take a couple innings to make some adjustments to that pitcher," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "Her drop ball was getting us early on. We were chasing her pitches and then we were able to make an adjustment and start swinging at our pitches and make her move the ball up in the zone. We got a lot of free bases with walks."
Trailing 5-0 heading into the fourth, the Huskies took advantage of Bronco errors and some wildness by pitcher Becca Shemberger scoring three runs without the benefit of a hit. NIU took the lead in the bottom of the fifth with another three spot.
Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) led off the fifth inning with a triple to right and scored on a fielder's choice by Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins). Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) doubled to center field to drive in a pair and give NIU a 6-5 lead.
Kopp finished the day 1-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored. Oswald finished the day 1-for-2 with four RBIs and a run scored. Sheppard set the table for the Huskies from the three hole, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Western Michigan (9-17, 0-1) scored first posting a four spot in the top of the third and tacked on another run in the top of the fourth. However, Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) shut the Broncos down from the middle of the fourth on. Norton was stellar in relief allowing one run on three hits while striking out six in four and a third innings of work. She improved to 4-11 on the season.
"She did a great job coming in," Sutcliffe said of Norton's performance. "Jess [Sturm] didn't get hit hard. She just got hit. For Emily to come in, shut them down and give us a chance, was huge. I think scoring the three runs showed us we had a chance."
The Huskies return to the field tomorrow when NIU faces Western Michigan at 2 p.m. Fans can follow all the action live, via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo softball team began two portions of its schedule on Friday, playing at home for the first time all season as UB and Akron opened up Mid-American Conference play. The Bulls fell on the short end of both games however, as the Zips won the opener 3-2 and the second game, 10-1.
In the opener, the Zips scored a run in the top of the fifth, which broke a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game-winner. Akron scored two runs in the top of the fourth, but the Bulls responded with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Sammi Gallardo opened the fourth with a double to left field and then came in to score as sophomore Alexis Curtiss singled up the middle. Curtiss moved up to second on a ground out and third on a wild pitch and then came in to score on an Akron fielding error.
Akron loaded the bases in the top of the fifth with nobody out and singled in the go-ahead run before UB made a pitching change and moved to freshman Dani Cowan. She worked out of trouble as she got her first batter to pop up and then the next batter to fly out to left field. On the flyout, left fielder Karly Nevez gunned down the Akron runner at the plate to end the inning.
The Bulls had a chance in the bottom of the sixth inning as they put together a little two-out rally. UB placed runners at the corners, but a failed bunt attempt ended the inning. Junior Heather Ryder picked up the loss as she went four innings and allowed eight hits. Cowan struck out four and allowed just one hit in three innings of relief. Gallardo had two of UB's five hits in the game.
Akron was strong offensively in the second game, scoring six runs over the first three innings. Junior Tori Speckman picked up the start, but managed to go just 0.2 innings, allowing three runs. Cowan came on in relief to pitch five innings. The Zips used the long ball in the first two innings, taking full advantage of the wind, which was blowing out to left field.
The Zips increased their lead to 8-0 in the sixth as the Bulls made another pitching change, bringing in freshman Nicole Aviles, who recorded a strikeout for the final out of the inning. Buffalo got on the board in the bottom half of the inning as Nevez hit a one-out single and was moved to second on a single down the left field line from Gallardo. Another single by Curtiss loaded the bases with just one out. Freshman Anissa Pinedo drove in the first run on a ground out, but the Bulls would get no closer.
The Zips added another two runs in the top of the seventh for the final margin of victory. Speckman picked up the loss, while Akron's Erin Seiler picked up the victory in both games on the afternoon. The Bulls recorded four hits, one coming from each of the top four spots in the lineup.
The Bulls open up a two-game series tomorrow afternoon with Ohio. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00pm.