Courtesy: UGF Sports Information
The 8-run mercy rule work for and against Lady Argo softball in a doubleheader split against Northwest University. UGF struggled from the pitching circle 14-5 loss that only went five innings, but won Game 2, a non-conference contest, 11-3 thanks to an outstanding hitting display. UGF won the 4-game series with the NU Eagles 3-1.
From the start of play, UGF's pitching was suspect in Game 1. Senior Shelby Abeyta, who has been battling an illness for the last few days, walked the two of the first four batters she faced in the top of the first, and eventually let up two hits including a 2 RBI double.
Down 3-0 through half an inning, the junior duo of Bailey Henderson and Kyle Gonzales stepped up to keep the game close. Hitting second in the lineup, Henderson registered the Lady Argo's first hit of the day in the bottom of the first with a double to left field. The next batter was Gonzales who hit her fifth homerun of the season and second against NU to bring the score to 3-2.
UGF's leadoff hitter in the next inning followed Gonzales' s lead. That batter was senior Jocelyn Kaufman, who before the series against the Eagles had only hit two career home runs. She knocked her second home run of the series with a solo shot that evened the score at 3-3.
NU busted the game wide open in the top of the third. The Eagles got to the plate 11 times, and earned 6 hits and 6 runs in the inning. Part of the problem for UGF was a lack of control from its pitching staff. After allowing her fifth walk, seventh hit, sixth run, and first wild pitch in 2.1 innings of work, Abeyta was replaced by redshirt-freshman Mikayla Deigan.
Three more runs scored with Deigan to put UGF down 9-3. Singles from seniors Hali Gruntowicz and Jackie Thomas drove in Henderson and Gonzales to get the Lady Argos a little bit closer, but 5-run rally from Northwest in the top of the fifth eliminated all that progress.
Another single from Thomas was all the Lady Argos could muster in the bottom of the fifth to try and avoid an early end to the game due to the 8-run mercy rule. Thomas finished the inning still standing on first and UGF lost 14-5.
In the end, the many of the statistics in the game were much closer than the final score. The Eagles only finished with two more hits than UGF (11-9) and both teams left 5 runners on base. One of the major differences was 7 walks for NU, while UGF only walked twice.
With sophomore Brie Clifford on the mound to start Game 2, things didn't seem to get much better. The Eagles used a home run in the top of the second and a walk with the bases loaded in the third, to take a 3-0 lead.
For the third time in four games, the Lady Argos used the bottom of the fourth inning for a comeback rally. Thanks to 3 errors on the Eagle's infield and 1 single apiece for Thomas, senior Paige Bodner, and junior Gabrielle Canibeyaz, UGF scored 5 runs in the innings to retake the lead.
An RBI double from senior Kimberly McAdams and an RBI single from senior Morgan Robinson made the score 7-3 by the end of the fifth and set UGF's sights on some mercy rule revenge.
That was accomplished by a rally in the bottom of the sixth that started with Thomas. The senior continued her big day with a double to center field. Gruntowicz then singled to left to put Thomas on third with no outs. Senior Kyra Dorvall responded, getting her third hit of the season on a 2 RBI double to right.
Junior Mikaylee Jaussi, McAdams, and Robinson all hit consecutive singles to center to drive in two more runs. The rally only ended when Jaussi crossed home plate on Robinson's single, bringing UGF's lead to 8 runs and ending the game with only 1 out in the inning.
Clifford earned her second win of the season, allowing 3 hits, and 2 earned runs in 5 innings while striking out three batters.
McAdams finished the game with a career high of 3 hits, and 2 RBI while batting .750 and score twice in Game 2. Dorvall also had a career game at the plate, setting a new career high with 2 RBI while also scoring twice.
Thomas was superb in both games, finished the day 4-7 from the plate with 2 runs, 2 RBI, 1 double, and 6 put outs. She also played at first base and short stop in the course of the two games.
UGF's record now sits at an even 11-11 (3-9). They are now tied with Northwest for seventh in the Cascade Collegiate Conference standings. Next for the Lady Argos will be two road doubleheaders against the University of British Columbia, starting on March 31 at 3 p.m. MDT.