Argo Softball Splits with Carroll, Still Alive for Conference To - News, Sports and Weather

Argo Softball Splits with Carroll, Still Alive for Conference Tournament Bid

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(UGF Athletics) An extra inning walk-off win, a sixth inning mercy rule loss, and an only slightly clearer playoff picture are what Lady Argo softball will walk away with after a home doubleheader against Carroll College. UGF split with the Fighting Saints, winning 1-0 (8 innings) and losing 12-3 (6 innings) to wrap up divisional play for the season.

The split leaves UGF still tied for second place in the Cascade Collegiate Conference East Division standings, but they could move down to third if Eastern Oregon University sweeps The College of Idaho on April 23. If EOU and C of I split, they would finish tied with EOU but would drop down to third with EOU holding the tiebreaker. The Lady Argo’s only chance to finish second in the conference would be if C of I sweeps EOU.

If UGF does finish in third, they could still earn the final spot in the CCC playoffs if they win the tiebreaker criteria over the fourth team in the CCC West.

Now for how we got here.

Entering the day, UGF knew it needed a sweep in order to clinch a playoff berth and the team had to battle into extra innings to keep those hopes alive. For seven innings, UGF senior Keeley Van Blaricom (6) and CC junior Megan Gipe maintained a scoreless pitcher’s duel.

Van Blaricom allowed just three hits in eight innings inside the circle while Gipe entered the bottom of the 8th with just four runs on her stat sheet. Both teams left six runners stranded on base through the first seven innings but junior Hali Gruntowicz (19) finally ended that streak for UGF in extra innings.

Gruntowicz stepped to the plate with one out and runners on first and second, hoping for the second walk-off hit of her career.

“I just wanted to see the ball, and hit the ball,” Gruntowicz said simply after the game. “I was hitting earlier only I was hitting it to people, so I was just looking for a gap.”

She didn’t so much as find a gap as she did power one deep enough into right field that it sailed over the Carroll outfielder’s head and safely dropped about three feet in front of the fence. Her double drove in senior Mindy Larson (4) to score the game winning run and keep the team’s playoff hopes alive.

Carroll quickly quieted the Lady Argo momentum with an RBI double in the 1st inning and a five run rally in the 2nd. To kill the rally, UGF had to bring Van Blaricom back into the circle and she did just that, getting the third out of the inning in one pitch. That didn’t last long, however, as the senior’s arm was clearly tired after her previous eight innings and Carroll scored four more runs in the next two innings.

Three UGF runs in the bottom of the 4th kept the Lady Argos away from the mercy rule for a while but another two runs for the Saints in the top of the 6th ended the game at 12-3.

Van Blaricom earned her tenth win of the season with her Game 1 win and she ranked second in the CCC with an ERA of 2.28. The two batters to drive in runs in Game 2 were junior Jocelyn Kaufman and Jackie Thomas who each hit RBI singles in the 4th inning.

UGF’s record now stands at 21-13 (11-9/6-6) with three more doubleheaders left to play. Two of those will be conference, but not divisional, competitions. While those won’t be able to help the team’s divisional standing, the road series against Corban on April 23 could be an important factor in the Lady Argo’s chances of earning the sixth playoff spot. Before that series, however, they will travel to Northwest Christian University for a doubleheader on April 22 at 2 & 4 p.m.

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