EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - University of Southern Indiana Softball rallied from a four-run deficit to grab a 6-5 win over Rockhurst University in game one of its doubleheader; then grabbed a 1-0 walk-off win over the Hawks in the nightcap to earn a Great Lakes Valley Conference sweep Friday afternoon at the USI Softball Field.
The Eagles (21-16, 10-8 GLVC) return to action Sunday at noon when they take on William Jewell College. The Cardinals (21-17, 8-10 GLVC) split a GLVC doubleheader with Bellarmine University Friday in Louisville, Kentucky.
Game 1: USI 6, Rockhurst 5 (Box Score)
USI rallied from a four-run deficit to earn a 6-5 win in the opener. After a solo home run by Fossett cut a 5-1 deficit to three runs in the last half of the fourth inning, the Eagles scored four times in the sixth to take the 6-5 lead.
After an RBI-ground out by senior third baseman Mena Fulton (Bloomington, Indiana) brought the Eagles to within two runs with two outs in the sixth inning, Fossett got the Eagles going with a two-out single. Sophomore shortstop Taylor Ricketts (Georgetown, Kentucky) drew a walk in the ensuing at-bat, setting up junior catcher Lindsey Barr (Whitesville, Kentucky) for a big opportunity.
Barr came through, sending a shot into right field and past the glove of Rockhurst right fielder Emily Truitt. Barr turned a single into a triple, clearing the bases to tie the score at 5-5 before coming home on an errant throw by Hawks second baseman Kelsey Tepen to give USI the 6-5 advantage.
Junior outfielder Caitlyn Bradley (Forest, Indiana), who had an RBI-single in the first inning, saved a run with a spectacular outstretched catch in the top of the seventh as USI held on for the one-run win.
Earlier in the game, Rockhurst (16-23, 10-8 GLVC) sent nine batters to the plate, taking advantage of a pair of errors, to score five times in the top of the second frame and build the four-run cushion.
Despite the second-inning struggles, junior lefthander Courtney Atkisson (Bringhurst, Indiana) settled down to blank the Hawks throughout the final five innings. Atkisson (7-4) gave up five runs, two earned, off eight hits in seven innings of work.
Leonhardt (10-8) racked up eight strikeouts en route to her third shutout of the year. She received some outstanding defensive efforts from senior outfielder Oliva Clark-Kittleson (Carbondale, Illinois) and freshman outfielder Jessica Tucker (Georgetown, Kentucky) in the sixth inning.
Clark-Kittleson had long run and catch at the warning track in left-centerfield on Rockhurst's leadoff hitter, Hanna Stam; while Tucker followed with a diving catch in right field in the next at-bat.
Following a leadoff double by Johnson in the seventh inning and a sacrifice bunt by Leonhardt, Bradley hit a ground ball to the shortstop, Lauren Marks, which was mistakenly thrown to first base rather than home plate; though it would have been tough to get Johnson out at home either way.