Softball picks up two big wins in Blues City Classic

David Koier, Courier Staff

 

The Western Illinois Leathernecks softball team traveled to Memphis, Tenn. this weekend to participate with four other teams in the Blues City Classic. The Purple and Gold went 1-3 on the weekend with their lone victory against the Huskies of Northern Illinois University on Saturday afternoon. The Leathernecks currently sit with a 4-10 overall record this season with two more weekend tournaments left before Summit League play is underway.

Friday’s matchup with Northwestern State did not favor the Leathernecks early on. Demons pitcher Bron Rhoden was tossing a no hitter through the bottom of the fourth until Western senior Halle Hollatz singled to left to end the bid, one of only two hits for the Leathernecks during the afternoon.

Maddy Anderson got the nod in the circle for the Leathernecks, allowing four runs (two earned) off seven hits in four innings pitched on the day for the freshman. Leatherneck ace Abby Carlin came in for two innings of relief work, surrendering an additional two runs in her time but not being charged with either.

The Leathernecks were able to cut the lead in half after a bases loaded wild pitch scored Alyssa Ealy from third and Ashley Minyard scored right after on a Demons’ throwing error. The Purple and Gold could not complete the comeback, falling in the opening contest 4-2.

Saturday’s first game of Saturday plated many runs for both squads in the contest. NIU’s Katie Keller kicked off the scoring with a 2-out solo homer to right-center in the top of the first inning, but Western sophomore Savannah Rodriguez responded quickly with a two run home run of her own to give Western a 2-1 lead after one

The Huskies quickly tied it up in the top of the second, but Ealy helped secure the lead once again with a single up the middle in the bottom half to bring Tori Boysen home for a 3-2 Leatherneck edge. Rodriguez added to the lead in the bottom of the third with a double to the gap in right-center. Rodriguez scored on a NIU throwing error on the next batter after Boyson singled down the left field to bring the Leatherneck lead to 5-2. Daytona Dooley closed the inning with an RBI single to center to plate Western’s third run of the third inning.

Anderson closed the door on the Huskies to earn the 10-9 victory over the Huskies in 2.2 innings of work and two strikeouts. Carlin got a no-decision in a starting role surrendering four earned runs with one strikeout of her own.

That was where Western’s luck appeared to run out, as later on in the day the Leathernecks would drop their game against the Memphis Tigers 6-1. Ealy went 1 for 3 in the contest, driving in the lone Leatherneck run on a single up the middle that plated Meghan Henson. Rodriguez was given the loss on five innings pitched in which she surrendered six earned runs off seven hits, striking out five and walking three.

The Leathernecks could not close their weekend out with a win either as the Purple and Gold fell to the North Alabama Lions 4-2. Western was able to load the bases numerous times, even putting two on in the top of the seventh with no outs, but they couldn’t capitalize, stranding 11 during the course of their outing. Carlin was given the loss after 2.2 innings of four hit, two earned run work. Anderson closed out the game 3.1 innings of three hit, two earned run relief work. Carlin moves to 2-4 on the season. The softball team travels to Carbondale, Ill. next weekend for the Saluki Invitational, where they will play five games over the course of the weekend. Their first matchup is bright and early Friday morning against DePaul with the first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m.