Western drops series to Mastodons

Alex Rieger, assistant sports editor

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Even though Western Illinois softball dropped the series one game to two against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, Leathernecks assistant coach Liz Young was happy with her team’s performance over the weekend.

“Overall, we came away from the weekend feeling alright about things,” Young said.

The Leathernecks series loss at Mary Ellen McKee Stadium was their second series loss to IPFW in program history. Western dropped the first contest 12-4. It bounced back in Game Two of Saturday’s doubleheader, closing out the Mastodons 7-2.

Sunday’s finale went to the Mastodons 4-0.

“We were going into Sunday’s game pretty relaxed,” Young said. “We faced off against them pretty strong Saturday evening, so we knew we had the ability to win.

“We struggled a little bit offensively on Sunday. We’re a much better offensive team than that.”

Mastodon shortstop Alex Bousquet hit a triple, sending in two RBI’s after two quiet innings, giving the Mastodons a two run lead in the third. IPFW never looked back to shut out Western in the finale.

During the first game on Saturday, under the lights, the Leathernecks drew first blood in the first inning after infielder Jamie Goss, senior, hit a single to center, marking her 34th RBI this season.

“(Goss) is a very composed hitter at the plate. Very little rattles her”, Young said. “She starts off, you know, a little slow early working on getting into her timing. Once she gets there, she is on a roll for the rest of the season.”

Senior outfielder Ashley Campbell sent Goss home with a single to right giving the Leathernecks an early two run lead.

The Mastodons turned things around starting in the third inning when they scored one run and then four more runs in four hits in the fourth inning. The momentum was in their favor and Western was run ruled in the sixth.

“It takes just one bad inning,” Young said. “They weren’t hitting us hard in the first game. Most of their stuff was singles up the middle and scoring runs from second — hats off to them offensively, but yeah, it was just one inning that kind of pushed those runs across the board, and then we just couldn’t get out of hole from there.”

Coach Young mentioned that the Leathernecks “were looking for a little redemption,” in the second game.

It was tied 1-1 going into the fourth inning when freshman pitcher Teagan Walsh hit a two-RBI single. Western scored four more runs in the fifth with help from an over-the-fence home run by Goss for a triple play.

“She has great eyes and with the bat control that she brings up to the plate and her ability for power, there is very little a pitcher can throw that she can’t make contact with,” Young said.

This was the Leathernecks’ last match up with IPFW of the regular season but a postseason rematch is likely. At 13-5, Western is second behind North Dakota State in the Summit League standings. IPFW is fourth at 12-6.

“Going into the postseason, we haven’t shown all of our cards yet to IPFW. We plan on seeing them in the postseason just like I’m sure they’re planning on seeing us,” Taylor said.

Western has two three-game series with South Dakota and UMKC remaining in the regular season. There are four bids to the 2012 Summit League Softball Championship, which begins May 12.

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