USI Softball Earns Sweep Down in Florida

USI Softball Earns Sweep Down in Florida

CLEARWATER, FLA (WFIE) - The University of Southern Indiana softball team earned a crucial sweep over regional opponents on the third day of action at The Spring Games in Clearwater, Florida. The Screaming Eagles opened the day with a 5-3 victory over Ohio Dominican University before topping  Walsh University 4-3 in a thriller.

The Screaming Eagles (1-5) began the day against Ohio Dominican, an opponent the Eagles are already familiar with. USI and the Panthers met in each team's first series of the season, where the Eagles swept ODU at the USI Softball Field.

The teams' meeting in Clearwater resembled both Evansville contests, as USI jumped out to an early lead and was able to stave off a late Panthers' run in the Eagles' 5-3 victory.

USI opened the scoring in the top of the first inning on a two-run home run by junior catcher Haley Hodges<>, the Portage, Indiana native's sixth home run of the season.

With a 2-0 lead, the Eagles added a tally in the top of the second on an error and recorded two more runs in the fifth on a two-run double by junior Grace Clark<>.

In the seventh, Ohio Dominican staged a comeback, pounding out a pair of RBI singles and adding another run on a wild pitch before USI senior pitcher Sarah Owens<> slammed the door on the Panthers.

In the victory, the Eagles were led offensively by Hodges, who recorded two hits in four at bats, including her two-run shot. Junior outfield Grace Clark<> went two-for-two with two RBIs and a run scored in the contest.

Owens controlled the game in the circle for USI, pitching a compete game, allowing three runs on ten hits, while striking out eight. Owens moves to 3-1 on the season with the victory.

In the second game of the day, USI faced Walsh for the first time in program history in a crucial Midwest region contest that turned out to be a thrilling Eagles' victory.

USI sent out freshman Courtney Atkisson<> to start in the circle and the Bringhurst, Indiana native ran into trouble early on. Walsh recorded three runs on five hits in two-thirds of an inning before Atkisson was pulled and fellow freshman Haylee Smith<> was sent in.

The Eagles chipped away at the Cavaliers' lead in the bottom of the second, as senior outfielder Janna Green<> smacked a two-run double to bring USI within a run of Walsh.

Innings three through six were uneventful offensively with USI and Walsh recording just four combined hits during that stretch.

Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 3-2, USI was able to find some offense, tying the game on a double by freshman Caitlyn Bradley<> that scored sophomore Olivia Clark-Kittleson<>.

Tied at 3-3 with one out, sophomore Marleah Fossett<> came on to pinch-hit for Toni Braun<>. Fossett stepped in and delivered a drive to center field that brought home Bradley from second and secured the walk-off victory for the Eagles.

Hodges, once again, led the Eagles offensively with a two-for-two performance while scoring a run. Bradley added a pair of doubles and an RBI, while Reese, Green, Clark-Kittleson, and Fossett all recorded a single hit.

USI returns to play at The Spring Games on Tuesday with a pair of regional contests. The Eagles open Tuesday's action against Grand Valley State University at 10 a.m. (CDT) before challenging Saginaw Valley State University at Noon (CDT).

Courtesy:  USI Sports Information Dept.  copyright 2016, WFIE, all rights reserved.