Courtesy of MAC Athletic Communication Departments
AKRON, Ohio – Akron put on an offensive show in the first game of its doubleheader against St. Francis (Pa.) Wednesday afternoon, playing the Red Storm to a split in what was the final non-conference outing of the season for both teams.
The Zips pounded out 13 hits to handily take game one by a 10-4 margin before their bats went quiet in game two as they fell 6-2. UA's overall record moved to 22-25 on the year heading into the last weekend of Mid-American Conference play.
MAC East Player of the Week Rachael Ratcliffe proved she was more than worthy of the title, falling just a single short of hitting for the cycle in the first game. The sophomore blasted a home run for the fourth-straight game, her 10th of the year, and added a double and a triple for five RBI in a 3-for-4 effort at the plate.
Lisa Lash came up big offensively as well, hitting in the ninth spot and going 3-for-3 with three RBI. Taryn Allmon and Kellie Roudabush came up with two hits apiece to add to Akron's well-rounded lineup.
Erin Seiler tossed the first three innings but it was enough to get the win, putting her at 16-17 for the year. MacKenzie Conrad came in to pitch four full innings of solid relief, allowing just one earned run and combining with Seiler to strike out seven batters.
The Zips jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after two innings, but St. Francis would even the score in the top of the fifth with two outs, taking advantage of an Akron error and tying it up at three.
UA had the answer in the bottom half of the inning, plating four runs on five hits keyed by Ratcliffe's triple with one out and two on. Allmon ensuing single brought home Ratcliffe, and McKenzi Rhodes and Lash issued back-to-back base hits with two outs to put up one more and make it 7-3 in Akron's favor.
Akron added to its cushion in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ratcliffe went yard, a three-run shot to left field with two outs. A solo home run gave the Red Flash one more in the seventh, but it was not enough to make a dent in the outcome.
Playing as the visiting team in game two, it looked as if Akron would have no trouble carrying its momentum over from the slugfest. Shawna Hochstetler smacked a leadoff home run for the second time in three games, and Roudabush scored on a St. Francis error after reaching on a double to give the Zips a 2-0 lead after the top of the first.
St. Francis retaliated quickly, putting up three runs in the first and the second, including a three-run home run of its own to go ahead 6-2.
The score would remain the same through the last five innings as the Zips struggled to regain their rhythm at the plate. A pinch-hit single up the middle from Jessica Reiman in the top of the seventh kept the blue and gold alive, and a Rhodes single to left put runners on the corners with just one out. Rhodes moved over to scoring position on a wild pitch with two away, but Akron was unable to bring anyone around.
Lash pitched one third of an inning but was docked for the loss, her second of the year. It was Conrad again in relief, throwing five and two-thirds innings and scattering seven hits without issuing a walk.
The Zips will make a final push to qualify for the Mid-American Conference tournament this weekend when they host Central Michigan for two games on Friday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., followed by single games with Eastern Michigan on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 pm.).
Sunday's game versus EMU will be Akron's Strike Out Cancer game. Pink t-shirts will be on sale for $10, there will be a drawing to win a pink prize basket, and fans can hang their own mini-poster on the fence to show their support for $1 (view on the Akron Softball Facebook page). All proceeds will benefit the Summa Health System Breast Cancer Division.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan softball team went toe-to-toe with Notre Dame, currently ranked second in the Big East but fell, 6-1, in the end on Wednesday afternoon at Fran Ebert Field.
An unearned run for Notre Dame in the top of the first was answered by WMU in the home half of the second. With the bases loaded, Christina Pigozzi scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at one run apiece. Pigozzi was one of two Broncos to get a hit in that inning, hitting one up the middle, as Colleen Lynch led off with a single back to the pitcher.
Jenny Rohn collected the third of WMU's three hits, giving her six hits in 10 at bats so far this week.
That is how the game stayed until the top of the fifth when the Irish's Laura Winter personally took over the game in the circle and at the plate. The junior moved from first base defensively to pitcher in the bottom of the fourth inning. She threw 10 pitches to get out of the inning. She would earn her 25th win of the season by throwing 29 pitches, 26 of which were strikes.
At the plate, Winter hit her 15th home run of the season in the sixth, a solo shot, and her second of the day in the top of the seventh, a two run home run. ND's Emilee Koerner's second double of the day plated to runs to break the one-all tie in the top of the fifth.
Starting pitcher Becca Shemberger was dealing early, not giving up a hit until the top of the third. Koerner broke up the bid with her first double of the game, becoming the first Notre Dame softball player to ever have 20 or more doubles in a season. Shemberger through 110 pitches with 65 for a strike.
This was the final non-conference game of the 2013 season for Western Michigan as the Broncos welcome Bowling Green (May 3) and Toledo (May 4-5) to Fran Ebert Field for the final two series of the regular season. Game time for the BGSU doubleheader is 1 p.m.
Today's game will be available On Demand within 24 hours and is available to all Bronco Insider subscribers.
CHICAGO - The Northern Illinois University softball team suffered a 2-0 setback to DePaul at Cacciatore Stadium Wednesday.
Jessica Sturm (Goddard, Kan./Goddard) pitched well, scattering seven hits while allowing two runs. Unfortunately for NIU, the offense was unable to breakthrough against Blue Demon (29-19) pitcher Kirsten Verdun.
"They didn't really hit Jess that hard," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "We had some defensive blunders that don't really show up on the scoreboard. Both runs really should've have scored.
"Offensively, their pitcher did a really nice job of mixing speed and keeping us off balance. We were guessing in the batter's box."
The Huskies (20-29) were held to three hits, with Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest), Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) and Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) each recording hits.
NIU's best scoring chance came in the top of the fourth. Down, 1-0, after DePaul plated a run in the bottom of the third, NIU had runners first and second with one out. However, Gremillion, who was at second, was thrown out at third when Shelby Miller (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa) reached on a fielder's choice. Sturm then lined out to end the inning.
The Blue Demons tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth before retiring the Huskies in the top of the seventh without incident.
The Huskies return to the diamond Friday when NIU takes on Mid-American Conference West Division rival Toledo in a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. Central Time. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker and watch it live on Huskie All-Access at NIUHuskies.com
EAST LANSING, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University softball team dropped its final non-conference game of the 2013 campaign, 3-0, to Michigan State University Wednesday, May 1, in East Lansing. The Eagles (15-31-1) had just four hits in the game, while the Spartans (22-23) had just three hits but were able post three tallies in the win.
Katy Blaharski (Carleton, Mich.-Airport) extended her hit streak to 15 games Wednesday evening after going 1-for-3 in the loss. Nellie Coquillard (Niles, Mich.-Niles), Amanda Herron (Columbus, Ohio-St. Francis De Sales) and Courtney Nicholson (Navarre, Ohio-Canton Central Catholic) each posted base hits in the loss.
Jenna Ignowski (Niles, Mich.-Niles) tossed all six innings for the Eagles. Ignowski (9-8) allowed three runs, one earned, on three hits. Dani Goranson tossed a complete game shutout for the Spartans. She scattered four hits and did not walk a batter.
The only scoring happened for the Spartans in the second. Sarah Bowling led off the inning with a double to left field and moved up to third on a groundout. Following a pair of EMU errors, the Spartans scored a run. Ellie Stoffer then laid down a bunt with Destinee Luna at third to score a run and make it 2-0. The Spartans scored their third and final run on a wild pitch to take the final tally and make it 3-0.
Eastern heads into its final weekend of the regular season Friday, May 3. EMU takes on Ohio University in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. on Friday afternoon.