USI Softball Tops Cedarville, Falls To MSU Mankato

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 University of Southern Indiana Softball settled for a split to the opening day of The Spring Games Saturday as the No. 13 Screaming Eagles defeated Midwest Region foe Cedarville University, 9-2, before suffering a 2-1 setback to Minnesota State University Mankato.

USI (8-2) returns to action Sunday when it takes on the University of Minnesota Duluth at 2:30 p.m. (CST) and Midwest Region foe Ashland University at 5 p.m.

Southern Indiana (8-2): 9, Cedarville (2-2): 2

Senior catcher Haley Hodges (Portage, Indiana) hit her 36th career home run as the Screaming Eagles earned a 9-2 win over Midwest Region foe Cedarville to open The Spring Games. Hodges, who is just two home runs shy of matching Rachel Bowling’s all-time school record of 38, went 2-of-4 at the plate with the home run, a double and three RBIs.

After senior shortstop Lexi Reese (Lebanon, Indiana) had an RBI-single in the first inning, the Eagles used a two-out rally to plate five runners in the bottom of the second inning and build a commanding 6-0 lead.

Sophomore second baseman Claire Johnson (Pittsboro, Indiana) began the rally with a two-out triple, her second of the year, while sophomore utility player Caitlyn Bradley (Forest, Indiana) pushed the first run across with an RBI-single.

USI capitalized on a pair of errors to push across three more runs, while Hodges’ RBI-double completed the two-out rally for the Eagles.

Cedarville (2-2) answered with a pair of runs in the third inning, but Hodges’ two-run home run in the fourth inning stole momentum away from the Yellow Jackets and put the Eagles up, 8-2.

Bradley (2-0), who earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning to cap off the Eagles’ scoring. Bradley scattered the two runs along with eight hits, a pair of walks and four strikeouts throughout seven innings as she earned the complete-game victory.

Minnesota State Mankato (9-3): 2, Southern Indiana: 

Minnesota State Mankato (9-3) took advantage of a lead-off error and three first-inning walks to score a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning. Those tallies held up as the Mavericks handed the Eagles a 2-1 setback Sunday afternoon.

USI was held without a hit throughout the first four innings, but a single by senior outfielder Grace Clark (Indianapolis, Indiana) broke up the no-hitter.

The Eagles rallied in the seventh inning as an RBI-single by Johnson cut MSU Mankato’s lead in half with one out. MSU Mankato pitcher Coley Ries, however, got back-to-back strikeouts to quell the Eagles’ surge. Ries (5-1), who had 14 strikeouts, earned the win after allowing just one run off three hits.

Sophomore pitcher Courtney Atkisson (Bringhurst, Indiana) took the loss for the Eagles after allowing two unearned runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. Freshman pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) finished the game, holding the Mavericks scoreless off four hits through 4 2/3 innings.

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