USI softball sweeps Rockhurst

USI softball sweeps Rockhurst

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.

Senior first baseman Marleah Fossett (Bloomington, Indiana) and junior second baseman Claire Johnson (Pittsboro, Kentucky) led the Screaming Eagles at the plate with a combined four hits apiece.

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.

Game 2: USI 1, Rockhurst 0 (Box Score)
Sophomore pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) shut down the Hawks' hitters, earning a three-hit shutout thanks to a walk-off, RBI-groundout by Bradley in the bottom of the seventh inning.

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.

Courtesy: USI Athletics