Leonhardt, Shouse shine in USI Softball sweep of Bellarmine


University of Southern Indiana Softball rode a masterful pitching performance and some clutch hitting to earn a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader sweep of visiting Bellarmine University Saturday afternoon at the USI Softball Field.

The Screaming Eagles (14-9, 3-1 GLVC) edged the Knights, 1-0, in the opener before claiming a 7-6 victory in the nightcap.

USI returns to action March 24 when it travels to Somers, Wisconsin, to take on the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in a GLVC doubleheader.

Game 1: USI 1, Bellarmine 0 (Box Score)
Sophomore pitcher Jennifer Leonhardt (Louisville, Kentucky) fanned nine batters and allowed just two hits as she earned her second consecutive complete-game shutout.

Leonhardt (6-5) was aided by freshman first baseman Haley Shouse (Borden, Indiana), who had a two-out, RBI-double in the bottom of the fifth inning to give the Eagles the 1-0 advantage.

It marked the second straight game that Leonhardt, who issued just two walks, did not allow a player past second base.

Bellarmine sophomore pitcher Sabrina Fussenegger (4-5) allowed just three hits, two of which came in the fifth inning.

Game 2: USI 7, Bellarmine 6 (Box Score)
USI scored five times in the bottom of the second inning to take a commanding 5-0 lead over the Knights. Shouse, who went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, opened the scoring with a two-run double.

The Eagles had four hits in the inning and took advantage of three Bellarmine errors to grab the big lead. Leonhardt and junior second baseman Claire Johnson (Pittsboro, Kentucky) each had RBIs in the frame.

Bellarmine (10-12, 1-3 GLVC), however, rallied with two runs in the third inning and four in the fourth to take a 6-5 advantage. The Knights capitalized on a lead-off double and a pair of walks to plate the runs in the third inning before scoring all four runs with two outs in the fourth.

Sophomore outfielder Allison Schubert (Nicholasville, Kentucky) energized the Eagles with a solo home run to tie the score at six in the bottom of the fourth; while a two-out double by Johnson in the fifth put USI up 7-6.

USI also got strong offensive efforts from junior catcher Lindsey Barr (Whitesville, Kentucky) and sophomore shortstop Taylor Ricketts (Georgetown, Kentucky). Barr was 3-of-4 with a run scored, while Ricketts was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Ricketts’ hit in the fifth inning led to the game-winning tally.

Junior pitcher Courtney Atkisson (Bringhurst, Indiana) earned the win to improve to 5-2 on the year after giving up just one hit and two walks in 3 1/3 innings of relief work.