University of Southern Indiana Softball could not complete a rally in the second game of a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader Sunday as the No. 10 Screaming Eagles were forced to settle on a split with visiting Rockhurst University Sunday afternoon at the USI Softball Field.
The Eagles (19-5, 2-2 GLVC) won the first game, 6-0, but dropped game two, 5-4. USI returns to action Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. when it visits Midwest Region foe Trevecca Nazarene University for a doubleheader in Nashville, Tennessee.
Southern Indiana (19-5, 2-2 GLVC) 6, Rockhurst (13-13, 3-1 GLVC) 0
USI Softball used a six-run fifth inning and a strong pitching effort from freshman Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) to earn a 6-0 victory over Rockhurst in the opener.
The Eagles began the last half of the fifth inning with three straight singles to load the bases with no outs. Sophomore second baseman Claire Johnson (Pittsboro, Indiana) drew a walk in the ensuing at-bat to push across the first run, while Leonhardt followed with an RBI-single to put the Eagles up, 2-0.
Senior shortstop Lexi Reese (Lebanon, Indiana) followed with a bases-clearing double down the leftfield line to put USI up, 5-0; then came in to score the sixth run on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Haley Hodges (Portage, Indiana). Hodges collected her school-record tying 144th career RBI on the play with the sacrifice.
Leonhardt (10-1) earned the win after scattering six hits throughout seven innings en route to her seventh straight decision and second straight shutout. She had six strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
Rockhurst 5, Southern Indiana 4
The Eagles rallied from a four-run deficit to get to within a single tally, but a four-run fourth inning proved to be too much for USI to overcome as it suffered a 5-4 setback to the Hawks in the nightcap.
Rockhurst (13-13, 3-1 GLVC) capitalized on a two-out error in the top of the fourth frame to score four unearned runs and build a 4-0 advantage. Freshman shortstop Lauren Marks followed the two-out error with a three-run blast to straight-away centerfield to break the scoreless tie, while a double and an RBI-single two batters later put Rockhurst in front 4-0.
USI rallied with three in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut into the Hawks’ advantage. Reese, junior third baseman Mena Fulton (Bloomington, Indiana) and senior outfielder Grace Clark (Indianapolis, Indiana) each had RBIs in the inning as the Eagles closed to within a single tally.
The Hawks answered with a run in the sixth inning to take a 5-3 lead, but a solo home run by Johnson in the bottom of the inning, once again, brought the Eagles to within a run heading into the final frame.
Hodges flirted with a home run in the bottom of the seventh, but her bid at the Eagles’ all-time home run and RBI marks fell short as USI went down in order en route to its fifth one-run loss of the year.
USI had scoring opportunities throughout the contest as it stranded eight runners on base and left the bases loaded twice.
Sophomore lefty Courtney Atkisson (Bringhurst, Indiana) was charged with the loss after giving up four unearned runs off eight hits in four-plus innings of work. Atkisson falls to 6-3 with the decision.
Southern Indiana 6, Rockhurst 0 (Mar 19, 2017 at Evansville, IN) (Game 1)
Rockhurst……….. 000 000 0 – 0 5 0 (12-13, 2-1 GLVC)
Southern Indiana…. 000 060 X – 6 9 0 (19-4, 2-1 GLVC)
Pitchers: Rockhurst – Greene, Shannon; Sappington,Bridgette(5); Staggs, Payton(5) and
Cairo, Lauren. Southern Indiana – Leonhardt, Jennifer and Hodges, Haley.
Win-Leonhardt, Jennifer(10-1) Loss-Greene, Shannon(4-8) T-1:37 A-125
Weather: 50s, sunny
Greene, S. faced 5 batters in the 5th.
Rockhurst 5, Southern Indiana 4 (Mar 19, 2017 at Evansville, IN) (Game 2)
Rockhurst……….. 000 401 0 – 5 10 2 (13-13, 3-1 GLVC)
Southern Indiana…. 000 031 0 – 4 8 1 (19-5, 2-2 GLVC)
Pitchers: Rockhurst – Sappington,Bridgette; Greene, Shannon(5) and Zuniga, Lexie.
Southern Indiana – Atkisson,Courtney; Leonhardt, Jennifer(5) and Hodges, Haley.
Win-Sappington,Bridgette(8-3) Save-Greene, Shannon(1) Loss-Atkisson,Courtney(6-3) T-1:40 A-125
HR RU – Marks, Lauren (2).
HR USI – Johnson, Claire (2).
Weather: 50s, sunny
Atkisson, C. faced 1 batter in the 5th.