Walks plague Eagles in season-opener

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No. 1 University of Southern Indiana Softball opened its 2019 season with a pair of losses Friday afternoon at the UAH Charger Chillout.

The Screaming Eagles (0-2) fell to No. 13 Young Harris College, 5-1, in the opener before suffering a five-inning, 13-4 setback to Delta State University in the nightcap.

Walks plagued USI pitching throughout the day as junior pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) issued eight in the opener versus Young Harris before freshmen hurlers Katie Back (Indianapolis, Indiana) and Elissa Brown (Brownsburg, Indiana) combined for four against Delta State.

Young Harris (3-2) 5, USI 1
USI opened the scoring in the top of the third inning when senior second baseman Claire Johnson (Pittsboro, Indiana) hit an RBI-triple to push across freshman Julianne Bell (Loogootee, Indiana), who pinch ran for junior shortstop Taylor Ricketts (Georgetown, Kentucky).

Young Harris, however, capitalized on a throwing error in the last half of the fifth inning to even the score at 1-1. The Mountain Lions took advantage of a walk and a hit-by-pitch in a four-run sixth inning that put the Eagles in a 5-1 deficit.

Leonhardt (0-1) was charged with the loss despite getting out of early jams in both the first and second frames. Leonhardt racked up seven strikeouts, but gave up five runs, four earned, off four hits in five-and-a-third innings of work.

Delta State (6-1) 13, USI 4 (5 inn.)
After a near two-hour delay prior to beginning the game, USI surrendered five runs in the top of the first and four more in the top half of the second inning as it fell in an early 9-1 deficit.

Delta State tacked on another tally in the fourth, but the Eagles answered with three runs in the last half of the frame to cut the Lady Statesmen’s advantage to six runs. Johnson, who tripled and scored in the first, had an RBI-single in the fourth inning, while Brown and freshman utility player Mikaela Domico (Naperville, Illinois) each recorded RBIs.

The Lady Statesman, however, answered USI’s surge with three runs in the top of the fifth inning to retake a nine-run lead that would eventually become a run-rule victory after five innings.

Back (0-1), who had an RBI in the first inning, was charged with the loss after giving up nine runs, five earned, of six hits and two walks in one-plus innings of work. Brown surrendered four runs, three earned, off seven hits in four innings.

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