USI Softball defeats Illinois-Springfield, 2-0 in NCAA Super Regionals

USI Softball defeats Illinois-Springfield, 2-0 in NCAA Super Regionals

SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - University of Southern Indiana Softball sophomore pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) mowed down 10 batters as the Screaming Eagles needed just two third-inning runs to defeat No. 19 University of Illinois Springfield, 2-0, in the opening game of the NCAA Division II Midwest Super Regional Thursday afternoon.
USI (35-23) is just one win away earning its second consecutive trip to the NCAA II Softball Championships, which are May 24-28 in Salem, Virginia.
After missing out on a scoring opportunity in the top half of the first inning, the Eagles had the bases loaded to begin the third frame. With one out, sophomore outfielder Allison Schubert (Nicholasville, Kentucky) hit a ball that found the dirt at the leftfield fence to break the scoreless stalemate.
Schubert's two-run double staked the Eagles to a 2-0 lead and brought the All-Region outfielder to within three RBIs of becoming the fifth player in program history to record 50 RBIs in one season.
Illinois Springfield (40-18), however, roared back in the bottom of the third frame as it loaded the bases with no outs and the top of its lineup coming to the plate.
Leonhardt (20-12), however, induced a fielder's choice groundout, a strikeout and a fly ball out to get out of the inning unscathed.
From that moment on, neither team made much noise at the plate. The Prairies Stars, who won the Great Lakes Valley Conference regular-season title, got the leadoff runner on base in the fifth, but Leonhardt retired the final nine batters she faced to keep the host school off the scoreboard.
USI, meanwhile, got a two-out single in the sixth inning, but was retired in order in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
Leonhardt, who moves to within one strikeout of Karianne Osowski's single-season school-record of 230, earned her 20th win in the circle and her sixth complete-game shutout after surrendering just three hits and one walk. She also moved to within one victory of career win No. 50.
USI will try to complete the series win Friday at noon when it takes on Illinois Springfield in game two of the best-of-three series. Game three, if necessary, is scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m.

Courtesy: USI Athletics