McKendree Spoils USI Softball Senior Day

McKendree Spoils USI Softball Senior Day
(WFIE)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - University of Southern Indiana Softball dropped both ends of its Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader to No. 25 McKendree University Sunday afternoon at the USI Softball Field.
 
The Screaming Eagles (27-22, 15-13 GLVC), who lost both games by matching scores of 6-3, honored their four seniors—outfielder Olivia Clark-Kittleson (Carbondale, Illinois), first baseman Mena Fulton (Bloomington, Indiana), third baseman Marleah Fossett (Brownsburg, Indiana) and infielder Alex Logan (Carleton, Michigan)—following the games as part of their Senior Day festivities.
 
Despite the losses, USI secured a berth in the GLVC Championship Tournament, which is May 3-5 in East Peoria, Illinois. Although the official bracket announcement will not be made until later this evening, the Eagles will likely be the No. 6 seed and face the No. 3 seed, University of Indianapolis, in the opening round.
 
Game 1: McKendree 6, USI 3
The Eagles saw a 2-0 lead evaporate as McKendree scored six straight runs to earn the 6-3 victory in the opener.
 
Junior catcher Lindsey Barr (Whitesville, Kentucky) put the Eagles on top with a two-run single in the bottom of the second inning, but McKendree answered with a solo home run off the bat of senior catcher Rebecca Franke in the top half of the fourth frame.
 
The Bearcats (37-14, 20-8 GLVC) erupted for four runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-2 lead before adding a tally in the seventh to increase their advantage to 6-2.
 
Junior second baseman Claire Johnson (Pittsboro, Indiana) had a sacrifice fly in the seventh to cut the deficit to three runs, but USI could not get anything else going as it suffered the loss in game one.
 
Sophomore pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) took the loss for the Eagles after giving up five runs, three earned, off six hits in 5 2/3 innings of work. Leonhardt (14-11) breezed through McKendree's lineup the first time around, retiring 10 straight with six strikeouts before the home run by Franke broke up the perfect-game bid.
 
Game 2: McKendree 6, USI 3
McKendree, once again, rallied from a 2-1 deficit with a four-run inning to earn the 6-3 win in the second game.
 
After spotting the Bearcats a run in the top of the fourth inning, the Eagles answered with an RBI-single from Fossett in the home half of the fourth inning. Fulton, who was at first base when Fossett recorded the hit, advanced to third; then scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw by the right fielder.
 
Despite retiring nine straight to start the game, junior pitcher Haylee Smith (Florence, Kentucky) ran into the same issue Leonhardt did in the fifth inning. McKendree scored four times off four hits to retake the lead and put the Eagles into a 5-2 deficit heading into the sixth inning.
 
Fulton's RBI-single in the sixth inning cut the Bearcats cushion to 5-3; but McKendree took advantage of an error in the seventh to score another run before closing the door on a USI comeback in bottom of the seventh inning.
 
Smith (5-5) was charged with the loss after giving up five runs, four earned, off five hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. Leonhardt gave up one unearned run off one hit in 2 2/3 innings of work and finished the day with a combined 11 strikeouts.

Courtesy:  USI Sports Information Dept.  Copyright 2018, WFIE, All rights reserved.