Courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
CONWAY, Ark. - - Behind a 4-for-4 effort from senior catcher Sadie Robertson, the Ball State softball team opened the second day of play at the 2013 UCA Softball Tournament with a 9-3 victory over Northern Iowa Saturday morning at Farris Field.
After the Cardinals (5-2) were retired in order in the first two innings, Robertson belted her first of two doubles in the game to bring the Ball State offense to life.
Junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert also turned in another impressive performance in the batter's box, blasting a two-run double off the left-center field wall to plate the game's first runs and finished the day 2-for-4 with a walk, two RBI and one run scored.
Sophomore right fielder Hanne Stuedemann and junior first baseman Taylor Rager also collected a pair of hits for the Cardinals, as BSU belted out 13 hits over the course of the game.
In the circle, redshirt junior Audra Sanders earned her first victory of the season, moving to 1-1 on the year, by limiting the Northern Iowa (4-9) offense to just four hits and three runs over 4.2 innings of work.
Freshman pitcher Nicole Steinbach picked up her first career save as well, holding the Panthers hitless over the final 2.1 innings. Both BSU pitchers would also log one strikeout in the game.
Following Robertson's double in the top of the third, freshman shortstop Selena Reyna singled to center field to give BSU runners at the corners. Two batters later, Gilbert would drive in the game's first two runs with her double off the wall to plate junior pinch runner Julie Cortez and Reyna, who had advanced to second on a stolen base.
Rager opened the fourth inning with a double of her own, while junior pinch runner Jessica Craft would be advanced to third thanks to a groundout from junior designated player Lauren Schroeder. While a fielder's choice on a sacrifice bunt attempt from senior center fielder Amanda Carpenter would get the lead runner at home, Carpenter would advance to second on a wild pitch and score on an RBI single to right center from Robertson.
Ball State would tack on three runs in the top of the fifth inning, thanks to a one-out rally started by a walk to Gilbert. Stuedemann would follow with a single, while a walk to junior third baseman Audrey Bickel loaded the bases. After a UNI pass ball allowed Gilbert to score the first run, a fielder's choice on a grounder to first from Rager brought home the second. Schroder followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Cardinals a 6-0 edge.
Northern Iowa would cut the Ball State lead in half in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two-out, three-run homer from Julia Hunter. Steinbach would then enter the game in relief for Sanders and strikeout out the next batter to stop the UNI rally.
The Cardinals would get one of the runs back in the top of the sixth thanks in part to another leadoff double from Robertson. An illegal pitch would move BSU's starting catcher to third, while a sacrifice fly from sophomore second baseman Taylor Cox drove home the run.
Ball State tallied its final two runs in the top of the seventh to make the final margin 9-3. Rager opened the inning with a single, while Schroeder followed with a double to put runners at second and third. Carpenter then sliced a two-run single up the middle to drive home both Rager and freshman pinch runner Briana Evans.
Jamie Fisher (1-7) suffered the loss in the circle for Northern Iowa by giving up six hits and five earned runs over 5.0 innings.
The Ball State softball team returns to action later this afternoon with a scheduled 3 p.m. (CT) first pitch versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Central Arkansas' Farris Field.
CONWAY, Ark. - - The Ball State softball team continued its hot hitting Saturday afternoon, recording a 14-0 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff to cap the second day of the UCA Tournament hosted by Central Arkansas at Farris Field.
With the victory, the Cardinals improve to 6-2 overall and are now 3-1 in the 2013 UCA Softball Tournament. Arkansas-Pine Bluff falls to 0-6 with the loss.
Topping the list of offensive highlights for Ball State was freshman shortstop Selena Reyna's first career home run, a grand slam in the bottom of the third inning. Reyna finished the game with a team-high five RBI and a run scored.
Freshman pinch runner/third baseman Emily Dabkowski tallied her first collegiate hit in the victory, dropping an RBI double in front of the Golden Lions left fielder. She also scored a team-high three runs.
In all, nine different Cardinals recorded a hit in the contest, including junior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert who went 1-for-1 with a walk and two runs scored. With the effort, Gilbert raised her season batting average to back to .739 (17-for-23), while her on base percentage climbed to .806.
In the circle, freshman Kelsey Schifferdecker improved to 3-0 on the year by holding UAPB to just two hits over 4.0 innings of work. She would also strikeout four batters while not issuing a walk.
Redshirt junior Lauren Williamson closed the game for Ball State, retiring the Golden Lions in order in the top of the fifth inning.
Defensively, sophomore Jessica Craft turned in a brilliant performance in her first career start at catcher for the Cardinals, helping guide the pitching staff to the shutout victory. She also went 1-for-1 at the plate with a pair of walks thrown in.
After Schifferdecker struck out two of the first three batters she faced in the top of the first, Gilbert got the offense rolling in the bottom half of the frame with a leadoff single to right. Sophomore designated player Hanne Stuedemann and junior third baseman Audrey Bickel would each draw a walk to load the bases before an illegal pitch brought in the game's first run.
After a strikeout, an RBI groundout from Reyna moved the score to 2-0 and put Bickel on third. BSU's final run came moments later on another UAPB illegal pitch.
The Cardinals added four more run in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 7-0. Freshman right fielder Briana Evans led off the inning with a single, stole second and advanced to third on an illegal pitch. Following a walk to Gilbert, Stuedemann sliced a single to right field to drive home Evans.
Gilbert would be brought home once again by an illegal pitch to give BSU its second run of the inning. Following a walk to Bickel, who was then replaced by Dabkowski, junior first baseman Lauren Schroeder would drive in Stuedemann with an RBI double. Dabkowski later scored the Cardinals' fourth run of the inning on yet another illegal pitch.
In BSU's five-run third inning, which moved the score to 12-0, Evans led off the frame with a walk and promptly stole second. Freshman left fielder Sammi Cowger followed by dropping an infield single in front of the UAPB first baseman to put runners at first and second for freshman designated player Sasha Margulies who singled down the right field line to drive home Evans.
Dabkowski would load the bases a second time for Ball State by reaching base on a Golden Lions' error. Two batters later, Reyna would deposit her first career home run over the left field wall to make the score 12-0.
Ball State closed out the scoring in the bottom of the fourth by adding two more markers. With one out, Cowger was hit by a pitch, advanced to second in an illegal pitch and was driven to third on a Margulies groundout. Dabkowski then dropped a double into left field to plate Cowger. A wild pitch and an illegal pitch would eventually bring home Dabkowski for the game's final run.
Heather Leigh (0-3) suffered the loss for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, surrendering nine hits and 14 runs (13 earned) over 4.0 innings. While she was able to strikeout two BSU hitters, she issued eight walks and threw eight illegal pitches.
The Ball State softball team concludes play in the 2013 UCA Tournament Sunday, with a 1 p.m. (CT) first pitch scheduled versus tournament host Central Arkansas.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Ohio University Softball Team (10-3) split its second day of competition at the 2013 University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Frost Classic, falling to Lipscomb to start the day before earning a walk-off win against Boston College via the bat of senior slugger Caitlin Colvin.
Just 13 games into the 2013 season, Colvin has tied the fourth best single-season home run mark in program history with seven.
Ohio 0, Lipscomb 6
Despite receiving hits from six different Bobcats, Ohio was unable to score in its first game of the day, falling to Lipscomb by a final score of 6-0.
The Bison got off to a fast start, scoring four runs in the top of the second inning to take an early lead. With one run already in, Brit Elmore blasted a three-run home run to give Lipscomb a solid advantage. Lipscomb was then able to add one run to its lead in the top of the third inning through a solo home run.
Ohio worked a runner around to third base in the bottom of the fourth inning when Sloan Walker (Cypress, Texas) singled, stole second, and advanced to third on an Adrienne Gebele (Annapolis, Md.) single.
The Bison added one more run in the top of the sixth inning, scoring on a two-out double.
Ohio 8, Boston College 6
Ohio engineered an impressive comeback in its second game of the afternoon, taking down the Boston College Eagles with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Trailing 6-3 and just three outs away from a loss, the Bobcats tacked on five runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The Eagles took an early 3-0 lead, scoring one run in the top of the first inning and two more in the top of the second. Ohio answered back in the bottom of the second frame, scoring three runs to level the scores. Raven King (Alpine, Utah) hit a two-run shot with one out before Amanda Dalton (Salem, Va.) walked and Alyssa Wolfe (Junction City, Ohio) tripled to right center to bring her home to score.
Boston College reclaimed the lead in the top of the third inning, scoring two runs to take a 5-3 advantage. The Eagles then added one more run in the top of the fourth, extending their lead to three runs.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Wolfe began Ohio’s rally by singling to left center. Lex Cortex (Beaufort, S.C.) was hit by a pitch in Ohio’s next at bat, advancing Wolfe to second. Alexandria Basquez (Elk Grove, Calif.) then reached on an error by the third baseman, loading the bases for the Bobcats. Lauren Gellerman (San Diego, Calif.) hit a clutch single to center field, driving in two runs. Colvin (Bonney Lake, Wash.) then stepped up to the plate and hit her team-leading seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot which gave the Bobcats a walk-off victory.
The Bobcats will conclude play at the UTC Frost Classic on Sunday against Tennessee Tech at 12:15 p.m.
CHATTANOOGA, TN - Toledo's offense froze on the second day of games at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, TN on Saturday. Limited to just three runs in two games, UT fell 9-1 to Missouri State in five innings and dropped a 9-2 contest to Eastern Kentucky. The Rockets fall to 1-3 on the season and will close out the season-opening tournament on Sunday, Feb. 24 against Boston College at 10:00 a.m.
The Midnight Blue & Gold totaled nine hits combined on Saturday after collecting 13 knocks against NC Central on Friday. UT also committed three errors in the first game against the Bears, but cleaned up the defense with no errors in the second game.
In the first game, Toledo scored first after freshman Marla Gooding reached on a double and senior Lindsey Tobias knocked her in with a two-out single to right field. Gooding's double was the third in four at-bats dating back to Friday.
Missouri State answered with a run in the first and threatened by loading the bases, but sophomore Alli Beery induced a line-drive out to end the inning tied 1-1.
The Bears broke the game open with three runs in each of the third and fourth innings. Beery (2.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB) lasted just one out into the third and was pulled after three walks and two errors led to the MSU runs. Gooding came on in relief, but struggled by allowing the final five runs on eight hits. The game ended after the Bears tacked on two runs in the fifth to reach the eight-run mercy rule after five.
Senior CF Kristen Roznoski went 2-for-2 at the plate, while Gooding (1-3), sophomore LF Alyssa Smith (1-2), Tobias (1-2) and sophomore 1B Leigh Nebendahl (1-2) each recorded a hit.
UT stranded four runners and MSU left eight runners on base.
The second game saw even less production out of UT as the Rockets tallied just three hits against EKU's Leanna Pittsenbarger. UT scored once in each of the first two innings, but that was all Pittsenbarger allowed through seven innings of work.
Tobias tripled in the first inning to bring her season RBI total to four, while scoring junior Lani Ernst who singled earlier in the inning. EKU took the lead in the bottom of the first when Katie Tackett belted a two-run homer off Gooding, but UT freshman Jen Behunin connected on her first-career long ball to tie the score at two in the top of the second.
The Colonels added another run in the third and then took the lead for good with three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. The Rockets were held hitless after the second inning and reached base safely twice the rest of the game.
Following Sunday's tournament finale, UT will travel to Clearwater, FL for the Under Armour Invitational. Notably, the Rockets will play a rematch against the Colonels at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 1.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Miami University softball team earned a split on day two of the Frost Classic Saturday. The RedHawks came from behind to defeat Tennessee Tech, 9-6, in the opener. They then scored three runs in the top of the seventh to send the nightcap against tournament host Chattanooga into extra innings, but ultimately fell, 10-6, in nine innings. Miami is now 2-7 on the season.
The Red and White got off to a fast start against Tennessee Tech, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. Kayla Ledbetter led off with a walk. Tiyona Marshall singled down the left field line to move her over to second. The Golden Eagles attempted to retire Ledbetter on Shanyn McIntyre’s groundball, but they didn’t get her and everyone was safe. Allie Larrabee followed with a double to deep centerfield that cleared the bases and made it 3-0. Two batters later, Taylor Shuey tripled to right field to bring home Jenna Modic and give the ‘Hawks a 4-0 advantage.
Tennessee Tech (6-5) fought back to score five runs in the bottom of the first and another in the bottom of the second off starter Megan Mattera. Mattera would settle down for the remainder of the game, allowing no further runs and only two hits to earn her first career victory.
Miami would tie the score in the top of the fifth when Larrabee doubled to bring home Marshall and Ledbetter. In the top of the sixth, Marshall doubled to centerfield to score Ledbetter and Kylie McChesney and give the RedHawks an 8-6 lead. Miami got one more insurance run in the top of the seventh when Shuey hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Larrabee.
Larrabee finished 3-for-4 with one run scored and a career-high five RBI. It is the first five RBI game for a RedHawk player in nearly three years; Sarah Billstrom was the last to do it with five against Eastern Kentucky on Apr. 6, 2010. Marshall finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Ledbetter drew three walks and scored three runs.
Chattanooga (7-5) took a 4-0 lead into the sixth inning of the nightcap. Miami got its offense going with two runs in the top of the frame. With one out, McChesney recorded an infield single. A groundout by Kristy Arbour moved her to second base. Kayla Ledbetter doubled to deep centerfield, allowing both McChesney and Ledbetter to score. The Mocs responded with a run in the bottom of the sixth off Mattera to take a 5-2 lead going into the seventh.
In the top of the seventh, Jenna Modic led off with a single to centerfield and was replaced by pinch-runner Brandi Hernandez. Hailey Reed doubled, moving Hernandez to third. Chattanooga retired the next two batters, but Arbour’s grounder to third base was mishandled, allowing Hernandez and Reed to score. Ledbetter would then tie the game with a single up the middle that scored Arbour. Mattera retired the Mocs in order in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
The teams played with the international tiebreaker rule in extra innings that saw a runner placed on second base to begin the frame. In the top of the eight, Larrabee singled to score Shanyn McIntyre immediately. Chattanooga would respond in the bottom of the inning by scoring their tiebreaker runner and tying the score at six.
Miami was unable to bring its runner home in the top of the ninth. Chattanooga began the bottom half of the inning by singling its runner to third base. A walk loaded the bases with no outs. Mattera got the next batter to fly out to centerfield, but Kasey Tydingco would hit a game-ending grand slam over the leftfield wall to give the Mocs a 10-6 win.
McIntyre finished the nightcap, 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Larrabee was 1-for-4 with one RBI, finishing with six RBI total in the doubleheader.
Miami will complete play at the Frost Classic on Sunday when it takes on Lipscomb at 10 a.m.
LOUISVILLE, KY - The University at Buffalo softball team hung tough with the #18 team in the country on Saturday afternoon, but fell to Louisville, 9-3. Earlier in the day, the Bulls lost to Eastern Illinois, 4-1.
In the opener, Eastern Illinois got a solid pitching performance from Hanna Mennenga, who struck out 14 batters to pick up the win. The Panthers got on the board with three runs in the bottom of the first and another in the bottom of the third.
The Bulls remained hitless until the top of the seventh when senior Andi Saucier hit a leadoff home run to left field.
Freshman Nicole Aviles picked up the loss as she went just a third of an inning, allowing three runs, although just one of those were earned. Fellow freshman Dani Cowan pitched the final 5.2 innings, striking out four.
In the second game, the Bulls played the host Cardinals and struck first in the top of the first inning. Junior Tori Pettine reached base with one out as she was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a ground out. Pettine then came in to score as freshman Anissa Pinedo singled up the middle.
The Cardinals responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, but were then silenced by UB pitching over the next four innings. In the top of the fourth, UB cut even further into the Louisville lead as junior Sammi Gallardo belted a lead off home run to center field. In the fifth inning, the Bulls finally pulled even, as sophomore Alexis Curtiss drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a one-out single. Both Curtiss and Saucier moved into scoring position with a wild pitch and Curtiss eventually came home on a sacrifice fly from senior Alyssa Ward.
The game remained tied into the bottom of the sixth when two early walks led to a six-run inning for the Cardinals. The Bulls put a pair of runners on in the top of the seventh, but could do no further damage.
The Bulls finished with eight hits against Louisville, including two from Curtiss, Pinedo and Caitlin Dekker. Junior Heather Ryder picked up the loss as she allowed four runs in 3.0 innings pitched. Both Cowan and junior Tori Speckman both saw action in the game as well.
Buffalo concludes play tomorrow at the Cardinal Classic with a rematch against Eastern Illinois. First pitch scheduled for 10:00 am.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kent State softball suffered its second eight-inning loss in as many days at the Cardinal Classic, falling 1-0 to Eastern Illinois at Louisville's Ulmer Stadium.
The loss marks the second straight game in which the Golden Flashes failed to score a run.
"We just need to get our offense on track and that will come with more live hitting,"
said head coach Karen Linder, whose squad has been shutout over its past 17 innings.
Sophomore Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) provided a bright spot for the Flashes. Johnson (1-3) went the distance, scattering five hits over eight innings and recording seven strikeouts while walking one batter. The winning run was unearned as the runner was placed on second base to begin extra innings.
"Emma pitched very well today," Linder said. "She did a great job for us and allowed us t be a position to win the game despite our lineup's struggles."
Kent State had its best scoring opportunity of the day in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lauren Grimes (Tallmadge, Ohio) drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Michele Duffy (Phillipsburg, N.J.). Lauren Balodis (North Royalton, Ohio) then drew a walk. A sac bunt by Jessacca Gironda (Akron, Ohio) moved both runners into scoring position with two outs. Kim Kirkpatrick (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) drew a walk, loading the bases. With the game-winning run 60 feet from home plate, Dani Ramos (South Euclid, Ohio) grounded out to end the inning.
The Flashes managed just three hits and left a season-high nine runners stranded on base.
"We just left too many runners on bases," Linder said. "We were a hit away from winning both extra inning games this weekend. One clutch hit makes all the difference"
Carly Willert drove in the winning run with a single in the top of the eighth inning. Stephanie Maday (1-2) earned her first victory of the season. Maday allowed just three hits in the shutout.
Kent State gets a rematch with No. 18 Louisville Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The Flashes fell to the host Cardinals, 5-0, on Friday.
BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Northern Illinois University softball team dropped both games on the second day of play in the FAU "Strike-Out Cancer" Tournament Saturday.
The Huskies (4-5) suffered a 3-0 setback to Towson to open the day and was edged out by Connecticut, 1-0, in the second game.
NIU and the Tigers played a scoreless game through five innings before Towson broke through with a run in the top of the sixth. The Tigers added two more in the top of the seventh, and kept the Huskies off the board in the bottom of the inning to take the game.
The Huskie offense tallied five hits, but was unable to plate a run. Their best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the third when NIU had runners at second and third with one out. However, Madison Murphy (Springfield, Ill./Sacred Heart) was thrown out at home attempting to score on Nicole Gremillion's (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) fly out to centerfield.
An RBI single by Connecticut in the bottom of the third proved to be the difference in NIU's second game of the day. UCONN pitcher Kiki Saveriano held the Northern Illinois offense to three hits and two walks on the day.
Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) pitched well in the losing effort. Norton allowed one run on four hits while striking out four.
"The defense played pretty solid, we just couldn't get the runs," NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe said of the Huskies' effort against UCONN. "Unfortunately, the offense just didn't come through when we needed it to."
The Huskies finish play in the FAU "Strike-Out Cancer" Tournament Sunday when NIU takes on host Florida Atlantic at 12 p.m. Central. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - WMU softball suffers a pair of losses on day two of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic, falling to Pitt, 4-3, and to the host Hilltoppers, 5-2, in the nightcap.
The Broncos opened the day against Big East opponent Pitt. The two programs had met only twice before with each winning one meeting. WMU emerged victorious in the last meeting, 7-3, on March 5, 2003.
The Panthers opened the scoring in the top of the first with a two-out home run to left center field. WMU evened the score in the home half of the third. Emma Bogart led off the frame with her fourth career double down the left field line. Sabrina Gamboa drove in her team best fourth RBI of the season with a single to left field.
Pitt reclaimed the lead for good on an infield single in the fifth and plated two more in the sixth. The first came on the Panthers' second home run of the game followed by a single to right center and an RBI double to left center to take a 4-1 lead.
The Broncos mounted their comeback in the sixth. Gamboa drew a one-out walk and two batters later Diana Patterson registered her first double of the season to bring WMU within two runs, 4-2.
Mackenzie Shepeck worked 6.0 innings in the loss, allowing all four runs but striking out a career-high eight batters in the process.
Colleen Lynch sat down Pitt in order in the top of the seventh, giving Western Michigan a chance in its last at bat. Loren Nagy led off the inning with a single up the middle. Bogart followed with her second hit of the game. Pinch running for Nagy, Megan Stamm advanced to third on Bogart's base hit and scored on Gamboa's sac fly.
The run-producing fly out brought the Broncos within one tally of tying the game, but left WMU just one out with which to work. Shepeck was sent to the plate as a pinch hitter but the rally came up short with a game-ending strikeout.
In the nightcap WMU took a one-run lead into the fifth inning but it would be the only half inning that Broncos led as WKU scored two in the fifth and added two more in the seventh to secure the win.
After giving up an opening run on three straight hits in the second inning, including a lead off triple, the Broncos took their advantage in the fourth. Patterson led off with a base hit to left field and Marleen Rodriguez doubled down the right field line. After Shepeck struck out swinging Nagy belted a double to straight away center field to clear the bases. Nagy is leading WMU offensively, hitting .444 (4-for-9) with a pair of doubles so far this weekend.
It would be the only runs the Broncos would manage in the loss as WMU went down in order in both the fifth and sixth innings. WKU earned a bases loaded walk and scored again on an infield single to extend its lead in the top of the seventh. WMU came to bat in the home half of the inning but was only able to scratch out a double to left center of Nagy's bat, stranding her at third base.
Western Michigan will close out the 2013 Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic against South Dakota State at 9:30 a.m. CT followed by Valparaiso at 12 p.m. CT. It will be the first ever meeting between the Broncos and Jackrabbits, while WMU holds a 17-4 advantage in the all-time series against Valpo.
PANTHERSVILLE, Ga. – Akron split its first two games at the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament hosted by Kennesaw State on Saturday afternoon, falling to Northern Colorado 10-2 in five innings, and rebounding with a key 2-0 victory over Georgia State on its home field.
"After the opening game, we talked about making the necessary adjustments because going back to last weekend we had played two poor games in a row," said head coach Julie Jones. "Our players responded well against Georgia State, playing great defense and delivering timely hitting in a well-pitched game."
The split evens UA's record to 5-5 on the season.
Northern Colorado 10, Akron 2 (5)
Alissa Birkhimer and Rachael Ratcliffe delivered solo home runs in the top of the fourth, but that was the only action from the Zips' bats in a five inning, 10-2 loss to Northern Colorado.
Save for the home runs, Akron was unable to push a runner past first base in the contest, while Northern Colorado (4-7) pounded out eight hits including two four-run innings.
The two solo shots broke a 10-inning scoreless drought for UA that extended back to its loss against College of Charleston last Sunday.
Erin Seiler and MacKenzie Conrad combined for seven strikeouts, but Seiler moved to 2-3 on the season with the loss.
Akron 2, Georgia State 0
It did not take long for the Zips to regain their composure in game two, as Birkhimer came out on the right side of a pitchers' duel, throwing a complete game shutout in UA's 2-0 victory over Georgia State on the Panthers' home field.
Birkhimer's gem of a game forced GSU to leave seven runners on base, even though the Panthers tallied five hits to Akron's three.
Once again, UA waited until the fourth inning to strike when Erin Pond delivered a leadoff infield single. Pond advanced to second on Birkhimer's sacrifice bunt that followed, bringing Ratcliffe to the plate.
Ratcliffe came through in the clutch, belting her fourth home run of the year over the left field wall to give Akron its 2-0 lead.
Georgia State (5-6) nearly mustered a comeback with two outs in the top of the sixth. Birkhimer (3-2) retired the first two batters without issue before GSU rightfielder Audrey Mason reached safely on an Akron error and advanced to second base. Mason moved over to third on a wild pitch, but was caught stealing home to end the inning.
The Zips held on to their two-run lead heading into the top of the seventh and Birkhimer saw the victory through, retiring the side in order and putting out two of the three batters unassisted.
Akron wraps up the tournament Sunday with a single game against Troy. First pitch is slated for 10 a.m. ET.
KENNESAW, Ga. -- The Bowling Green State University softball team split the first day of the Phyllis Rafter Invitational Saturday evening, pushing the Falcons' overall record to 2-1 on the young season. Bowling Green started the day with a win over Youngstown State, beating the Penguins by a score of 1-0. The Falcons suffered their first loss of the 2013 season in game two, falling to host Kennesaw State, 5-0.
In game one, junior Erika Stratton recorded one of the Falcons’ four hits, going 1-for-1 with two walks and the lone Bowling Green RBI. Sophomore pitcher Paris Imholz (1-0) earned her first victory of the season, allowing just four hits and striking out two in a complete-game shutout.
The Falcons’ lone run of the contest came in the top of the fourth inning on two hits, starting with a single from senior Andrea Arney to center field. Arney advanced to second base on a foul out in the next at bat, putting her in prime position to score. Stratton fired a single to left field in the next at bat, bringing home Arney for the game-winning run. Imholz took care of the rest, shutting out the Penguins for the remainder of the game.
Game two marked the first loss of the season for Bowling Green, while also marking the first runs allowed in 2013. Hannah Fulk, Katie Yoho and Arney all recorded singles, while sophomore Jamie Kertes (1-1) was credited with the loss. Kertes allowed three earned runs in the first 4.1 innings of the game, before giving way Imholz who allowed one earned run in the final 1.2 frames.
“It was great to get back onto the field today,” said head coach Shannon Salsburg. “We continue to focus on finding consistency in all facets of the game as a team. I expect us to bounce back strong on Sunday.”
The Falcons finish up the Phyillis Rafter Memorial Tournament with two games Sunday morning, starting with Jacksonville State at 8 a.m. before finishing up with Campbell University at 10 a.m.