Softball sweeps doubleheader against Evansville


Photo by Joshua Calloni

The Lions meet outside their dugout between innings.

Joshua Calloni, Sports Editor

Lindenwood’s softball team completed a doubleheader sweep of the University of Evansville Aces, giving it a winning streak that is currently five games long.

In the first game of the twin bill, the Lions won in a walk-off, by a score of 8-7, overcoming an early 5-0 deficit. Lindenwood scored three runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning, their first three of the game. No batter was credited with an RBI in the inning, however, as two runs scored of wild pitches made by the Aces, and another by a fielder’s choice, or when an out is recorded on the play, but a run still scores.

Though the Aces would respond back the following inning with a run of their own, the Lions put up another three-spot in the bottom half of the sixth inning to tie the game. Centerfielder Mya Bethany and left fielder Irelynn West both took bases-loaded walks, driving in two of the runs, and first baseman Tori Hatton drove in another run on a sacrifice fly to left field.

The tied score would continue through the seventh inning, sending the game to extra innings, when West came to the plate again, with two runners on. This time, she would single into left field, scoring Bethany as the winning run, completing a Lions comeback, and giving them the 8-7 win.

On the pitching side of things, Avery Wapp pitched very effectively in relief, going four innings, only allowing two hits, and one earned run, and striking out five Aces batters.

“The transition to the OVC has been a challenge as we face harder teams and we have had a tendency to get discouraged,” Wapp said. “This win streak really helps us show that we belong here and we can compete with these D1 teams.”

A few hours later, the two teams matched up again, with Lindenwood again completing another comeback, this time from an early 3-1 deficit, to win by a score of 4-3.

The Lions scored first in the second game of the doubleheader, coming on a first-inning sacrifice fly by Hatton to centerfield, which scored Bethany. The Aces responded in the next half-inning, scoring three runs in the top of the second.

However, a few innings later, the Lions would respond with a three-run inning of their own, coming in the home half of the fifth inning. West singled with two runners on, which scored right fielder Theresa Snaidauf, and Hatton reached base on a fielder’s choice, scoring catcher Morgan Gersch on the play.

“These past few games we have been really successful at staying the course and having great at-bats,” Gersch said. “This gives us a really great chance and our pitchers do an amazing job at keeping us in games.”

To complete the inning, designated player Lauren Pelton hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring West, and giving the Lions the 4-3 lead that they eventually won by.

Also in this game, starting pitcher Keighlan Cronin pitched a complete game, allowing only five hits and two earned runs, and striking out 13 of the 28 batters that she faced in the game. The game marked Cronin’s season high for strikeouts.

By sweeping the doubleheader, the Lions now improve to an 11-17 record on the year, with roughly 20 games left to play.

“My team continues to surprise me [with] their will to never give up,” Wapp said. “They play ball as if the score was 0-0 throughout the whole game and they stay in it till the end. The dugout is always loud and up,”

The Lions now head out on the road to Morehead, Kentucky, to play Morehead State University for three games. From there, they head to Eugene, Oregon to play a pair of games against the University of Oregon, and then to Columbia, Missouri to play a game against the University of Missouri.

The team’s next home game is currently scheduled for Saturday, April 15 against Southeast Missouri State University, with the first pitch coming at 4 p.m.