Softball Splits Doubleheader at Urbana

Green was the color of the day on Thursday (Mar. 17).  However, the AU softball team might be a little green around the gills and it has nothing to do with St. Patrick's Day.

            On Thursday, the Eagles played a non-conference doubleheader at Urbana. After an impressive performance in the first game, which the Eagles won, 9-0 in six innings, they lost a heart-breaking 3-2 decision in the nightcap. Ashland had trailed, 2-0 through six innings in the second game. After pushing across two runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game, Urbana (5-8) got an RBI double from Tami Lasley to score Brooke Shultz. Shultz had opened the seventh inning with a walk.

            That kind of drama did not exist in the first game. The Eagles (6-6) used another dominating performance from starting pitcher Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio) to silence the Blue Knights.  Knerem pitched the first five innings and allowed only one hit, a fifth-inning single by Heather Hakola.  The AU ace, now 6-1, walked two and struck out 10.

            The Eagles scored four runs in the fourth inning and five in the sixth inning. In the fourth, designated player Logan Hursey (Zanesville, Ohio/John Glenn) had a two-run homer, her first of the year and 20th of her career, and Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale) came off the bench to drill a pinch-hit, two-run single.

             In the sixth inning, the Eagles got an RBI double from outfielder Alex Machen (Lebanon, Ohio), an RBI single from outfielder Erica Miller (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central), a run-scoring sacrifice fly by shortstop Bri Woody (Cleveland, Ohio/Magnficat) and an RBI double from Hursey. One other run scored on an error.

            Hursey finished 2-for-3 with three RBI and freshman second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) and center fielder Lyndsey Brandt (Painesville, Ohio/Riverview) both went 2-for-3.  Seidler had a double.

            When Knerem left the game, the Eagles turned to freshman Carly Clark (Strasburg, Ohio).  She pitched a perfect sixth inning.

            In the nightcap, AU gave up single runs in the first and second innings.  Both of those tallies came off of Knerem, who pitched the front three innings before turning the mound chores over to Hursey.  The Eagles could do very little against Urbana starter and winner Haley Jo Kolmerten (3-1).  She held AU to two runs on five hits in seven innings.  Kolmerten walked one and whiffed three.

            In the top of the seventh inning, third baseman Alyssa Kelley (Mentor, Ohio) led off with a double to left field.  Kaely Stucin (Dover, Ohio) pinch ran and she came home on a Hursey single to center field.  A fielder's choice moved Hursey to second and she came around to score moments later on a Seidler single. Brandt followed the Seidler safety with a single and AU had runners at first and second with one out. That's when Kolmerten put out the fire. Ashland didn't have a lot of chances in this game – the Eagles left just four runners on base.

            That run in the bottom of the seventh gave the Blue Knights the win. That rally gave the loss to Hursey (0-5) who allowed a run on three hits in 3.1 innings.  The senior walked four and struck out two. 

            The Eagles were hoping to use this twinbill as a springboard after winning three of their last four games in Florida. AU returns to the diamond on Saturday (Mar. 19), when it hosts Walsh at noon. That's the first home date of the season.