Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communication Departments
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Trailing by four runs, the Western Michigan softball team had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but the Broncos did not have two comebacks in them in as many days, falling to Toledo, 5-1.
WMU was able to bring the tying run to the plate in the seventh due in part to Diana Patterson's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth, scoring pinch runner Alyssa Prokos with two outs to bring the Broncos within four.
Melissa Palmer, who was 2-for-4 on the day, drew a lead off walk but was thrown out at second base when Christina Pigozzi reached on a fielder's choice. Jenny Rohn reached on on of two Toledo errors in the inning, putting runners on first and second. Colleen Lynch reached on a fielder's choice when the Rockets attempted to get the lead runner at third but that resulted in an error as well to load the bases for Megan Stamm. Stamm, who is one of two Broncos to already have a grand slam this season (Loren Nagy has the other), grounded out to first base on a 2-2 pitch to end the rally.
Starting pitcher Allyson Kus was cruising through the first four innings, allowing just two base runners on a hit batter and one base hit. Toledo came alive in the top of the fifth, scoring five runs on four hits and was aided by an obstruction call midway through the inning one batter before Jess Lemieux doubled to left center, driving in three runs, to break the game open. Courtney McCarthy drove in the first two runs of the inning on a base hit up the middle off Kus' glove.
Mackenzie Shepeck moved from left field to the pitcher's circle with one out recorded in the fifth. Only one Rocket reached base the rest of the way.
Western Michigan will conclude its regular season Sunday against Toledo at 1 p.m. Sunday is Senior Day as the Broncos honor outgoing seniors Elisha Handshoe, Lynch and Patterson.
OXFORD, Ohio – A seven-run second inning led the Miami University softball team to an important 7-5 victory over Buffalo on Saturday. The RedHawks improve to 12-9 in the Mid-American Conference and 19-31 overall. The Bulls fall to 15-32 overall and 5-14 in the MAC.
Miami got all the runs it needed in the bottom of the second inning. Jenna Modic led off with a double to left field. Kayla Ledbetter tripled to right field to score Modic and get the ‘Hawks on the board. A sacrifice fly from Shanyn McIntyre scored Ledbetter. Megan Mattera followed with her second home run of the season, which made it 3-0 and forced a Buffalo pitching change.
The new pitcher walked Kylie McChesney to start things off. Kristy Arbour moved her up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Taylor Shuey followed with a double to right center that scored McChesney and made it 4-0. After Tiyona Marshall walked, Buffalo would bring in its third pitcher of the inning. That did not help the Bulls as Hailey Reed would hit a line shot over the left field wall for a three-run home run that gave Miami a 7-0 lead.
Modic kept Buffalo off the board until they scored two runs in the top of the fourth. After the Bulls hit a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to three at 7-4, Mattera would come in to relieve her. Buffalo would load the bases and get one more run to make it 7-5, but Mattera induced a groundout to Arbour to end the threat.
In the top of the seventh, Anissa Pinedo led off with a double. After a fly out, pinch-hitter Nora McGuire hit a line shot towards Tiyona Marshall. Marshall caught it and doubled Pinedo off second base to give Miami the win.
Reed finished the game 1-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored. Shuey, Ledbetter, McIntyre and Mattera also recorded RBI for the RedHawks.
Miami completes the regular season on Sunday when it takes on Buffalo at 1 p.m. Prior to the contest, Shannon Tillett will be honored in a Senior Day ceremony. The game will be broadcast live on Miami All-Access for those who have a subscription.
AKRON, Ohio – Akron jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning but was unable to maintain the advantage as Eastern Michigan snuck by with a 4-3 decision Saturday afternoon at Lee R. Jackson Field.
With the loss, UA slides to 22-28 on the season and 7-14 in the Mid-American Conference, while Eastern Michigan moves to 17-32-1 and 7-13 in MAC play. Akron faces a must-win situation in its final regular season game on Sunday and will need some help from around the league to maintain a chance of qualifying for the MAC Tournament next week.
The Zips scored all three of their runs without the help of RBIs, plating two on wild pitches and one on a passed ball in the bottom of the first. Kellie Roudabush reached safely on a throwing error by the EMU third baseman and Alissa Birkhimer followed with a stand-up double to right center field to put runners in scoring position for Jessica Schneider.
Schneider drew a one-out walk to load the bases for Rachael Ratcliffe. EMU's first pitch to Ratcliffe was wild, scoring Roudabush and moving up the other two runners. Another wild pitch in the same at-bat brought home Birkhimer and left Schneider at third.
Taryn Allmon came to the plate and worked a walk, but not before Schneider scored on a passed ball to give Akron a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Akron had a chance to extend its lead in the bottom of the second with runners on the corners and just one out, but was caught on the wrong end of a double steal attempt that turned into an inning-ending double play.
Eastern Michigan got on the board in the top of the third on a two-out RBI single that was enough to score its runner from second base and cut Akron's lead to 3-1.
The game-changer came in the fourth inning when Eastern left fielder Jenn Lucas homered to left field, scoring three and putting the Eagles on top for the first time in the game, 4-3. That lead would stand for the rest of the game, as Akron failed to move a runner into scoring position after the second inning.
Erin Seiler (16-19) threw all seven innings, recording eight strikeouts. EMU's senior hurler Jenna Ignowski went the distance as well and was credited with the win, her 10th of the year.
Akron wraps up its series with Eastern tomorrow at 1 p.m. in its annual Strike Out Cancer game.
Ball State 6, Kent State 5
MUNCIE, Ind. - - Thanks to an eighth inning walk-off home run from freshman shortstop Selena Reyna, the Ball State softball team pushed its 2013 Mid-American Conference record to 18-2 with a 6-5 victory over Kent State Saturday afternoon at the BSU Softball Complex.
With the win, Ball State head coach Craig Nicholson also picked up his 100th career MAC victory, improving to 100-46 (.685) in seven seasons of league play.
Ball State, which secured the 2013 Mid-American Conference Regular Season Championship and the No. 1 seed in next week’s MAC Tournament yesterday with a doubleheader sweep over Buffalo, improved to 35-14 overall this season with today’s win.
The Golden Flashes, who fall to 26-19-1 (15-6 MAC) with the loss, still have a one-game lead in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in next week’s league tournament, as Central Michigan suffered a 7-3 setback at Ohio Saturday and is 14-7 in MAC play.
In addition to Reyna’s fifth career home run, junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert blasted her program-record 21st long ball of the season and sophomore designated player Hanne Stuedemann added her eighth four-bagger of the year.
In a storyline dominated by home runs, perhaps the game’s biggest hit came from Ball State’s first batter sophomore right fielder Loren Cihlar. With a 2-2 count in the bottom of the first inning, Cihlar fouled off four straight pitches before taking ball three and then connecting for a tone-setting single.
Cihlar, who went 2-for-3 in the game, would then come around to score on a BSU double steal attempt when the throw to second base was misplayed allowing her to cross the plate from third.
Kent State would battle back to tie the score in the top of the third, as leadoff hitter Jessacca Gironda reached base on a BSU error and eventually came around to score on a RBI single from Lauren Grimes.
The score did not stay tied for long, as Stuedemann connected for a two-run blast in the bottom of the inning to give Ball State a 3-1 edge. Cihlar leadoff the frame with a bunt single to set-up Stuedemann’s two-run rocket shot over the left field wall.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Golden Flashes rallied to tie the score once again in the top of the fifth, as a two-out RBI triple from Grimes and a BSU throwing error on a rundown play evened the score at 3-3.
Once again, the Cardinals responded in the bottom of the inning with a home run. After Stuedemann leadoff the inning with a walk, freshman pinch runner Briana Evans stole second to give BSU a runner in scoring position. However, BSU did not need to relay on small ball to break the stalemate as Gilbert launched a no-doubter over the center field wall for her 21st home run of the year.
Needing to rally in the seventh, the Golden Flashes did just that with back-to-back singles to open the frame. A fly to left would give BSU the first out of the inning, but an error on the throw in to third allowed Kent State to cut the Cardinals’ advantage to 5-4.
After a strikeout from BSU senior relief pitcher Audra Sanders put the second out on the scoreboard, Lauren Balodis would smash a RBI double off the left field wall that was just out of the reach of BSU’s Gilbert to tie the score at 5-5 and force extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Kent State would put runners on the corners with two outs, but Sanders would force a groundout to first base to end the threat.
Reyna, who went 3-for-4 in the game, would then come through for Ball State in the bottom of the inning by blasting a one-out, walk-off solo-shot over the left field wall.
Sanders would pick up the win in Saturday’s contest to improve to 8-2. Over two innings of work, Sanders surrendered four hits and two earned runs while striking out one batter.
Freshman Kelsey Schifferdecker was BSU’s starting pitcher in the game, allowing just five hits and three runs (one earned) over six innings of work. She would also strikeout a pair of batters.
Kent State’s ace Emma Johnson suffered the loss in the circle, falling to 20-10 on the year after allowing eight hits and six runs (five earned) over 7.1 innings. She also struck out seven batters.
The Ball State softball team concludes the 2013 regular season Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch versus Kent State at the BSU Softball Complex. The game will also serve as senior day for the Cardinals as they honor Amanda Carpenter, Julie Cortez, Sadie Robertson, Audra Sanders and Lauren Williamson prior to the start of the contest.
DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois University softball team continued its dominance in league play with a 3-0 shutout over Bowling Green at Mary M. Bell Field Saturday.
The win was the fifth straight Mid-American Conference victory for the Huskies (23-29, 13-8) and NIU has won 12 of its last 13 MAC contests.
Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) recorded her third complete game shutout, holding the Falcons (26-21, 9-12) to two hits and a walk while striking out five in seven innings of work. She improves to 12-15 on the season. She also helped her own cause at the plate, going 1-for-3 with an RBI.
"Emily really kept them off balance," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "I really didn't think, at any point, they were on her. She did a really good job pitching a two-hitter."
Following a three up and three down top of fourth in which Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) made some stellar defensive plays, NIU carried the momentum into the bottom of the inning.
"Ashley Kopp had a phenomenal game defensively," Sutcliffe said. "She made some huge plays defensively."
With runners on second and third with two outs, Norton hit a hard ball to the second baseman. The Falcon infielder, who momentarily bobbled the ball, allowing Norton to reach first, threw home but the throw was wild and Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) scored from third and Jessica Sturm (Wichita, Kan./Goddard) scored all the way from second on the error.
The Huskies added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) scored from third on an errant throw by the catcher trying to throw out Sturm attempting to steal.
Sturm led the way for the Huskies going 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Barnett and Miller each recorded a hit and run scored.
"Jess has been working really hard on her hitting the last couple months," she said. "She's really stepped up into a nice offensive role and is doing a nice job for us."
The Huskies return to action Sunday when NIU concludes its series with Bowling Green. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. CT and fans can follow all the action live at NIUHuskies.com through Gametracker or they can watch the games on Huskie All-Access.