EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) -Junior pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) and senior catcher Lindsey Barr (Owensboro, Kentucky) each blasted two-run home runs as University of Southern Indiana Softball swept a Midwest Region doubleheader from visiting Kentucky Wesleyan College Tuesday night at the USI Softball Field.
The Screaming Eagles (27-13) defeated the Panthers, 5-1, in the opener before hanging on for a 7-5 win in the nightcap.
USI got an RBI-single from senior outfielder/pitcher Caitlyn Bradley (Forest, Indiana) in the bottom of the first inning to take an early 1-0 advantage, while a lead-off double by Barr led to another Eagles’ tally in the fourth inning as senior second baseman Claire Johnson (Pittsboro, Indiana) hit an RBI-single to put USI up 2-0.
Kentucky Wesleyan (15-20), however, used a one-out walk and back-to-back singles to cut USI’s lead in half in the top of the fifth inning. The run was the first given up by Leonhardt in her last six starts and broke a scoreless streak of 41.1 innings.
The Eagles, however, quickly responded as sophomore first baseman Haley Shouse (Borden, Indiana) hit a run-scoring double in the last half of the fifth inning to put USI up, 3-1, while Leonhardt walked away with the last laugh as she blasted a two-run shot over the right field fence in the sixth inning to put USI up 5-1.
Leonhardt (16-4) earned the win after giving up one run off four hits and three walks. She struck out eight batters in seven innings of work, bringing her to within nine of breaking Brooke Harmening’s all-time school record of 642. She also is just three wins shy of tying Harmening for first on USI’s all-time wins list (74).
USI scored runs in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings to jump out to a commanding 7-0 lead over the Panthers. Johnson and Leonhardt had RBI-singles in the second frame to put USI up, 2-0, while Leonhardt and sophomore outfielder Alicia Webb (Elberfeld, Indiana) had RBI-singles in the fourth to extend the Eagles’ advantage to 4-0.
Barr hit her team-leading fifth home run, a two-run blast, over the centerfield fence in the fifth inning as USI increased its advantage to 6-0, while Shouse had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to push across the seventh run.
The Panthers scored five late runs in the top of the seventh inning, but Bradley came back into the game to close the door on Kentucky Wesleyan’s comeback attempt.
Senior pitcher Haylee Smith (Florence, Kentucky) earned the win to improve to 5-1 on the year after holding the Panthers scoreless on three hits in four innings of work, while Bradley pitched two-and-a-third innings of scoreless softball to earn her second save of the year.
USI hosts Missouri University of Science & Technology Saturday at noon in a GLVC doubleheader at the USI Softball Field. The Miners (12-24, 6-8 GLVC) split last week’s conference action against McKendree University and the University of Illinois Springfield.
Courtesy: USI Athletics