INDIANAPOLIS – Entering Sunday's (May 12) game against top-ranked Indianapolis in the NCAA Midwest Regional Softball Tournament, the Ashland University Eagles were on quite a run.
Sunday, that run was anything but a walk in the park. It turned into the Tough Mudder.
On a sunny Sunday at Baumgartner Field, the Eagles saw their season come to an end as the Greyhounds advanced to the Super Regional with a 10-0 win in five innings. The Greyhounds will play the winner of the Grand Valley State-Missouri-St. Louis battle that was being played Sunday in Allendale, Mich.
To advance, the Eagles (29-20) needed to beat Indy twice on Sunday. The Greyhounds (53-6) didn't string the Eagles along – they scored eight times in the second inning. The Greyhounds had five hits in that inning, but AU helped the home team a bit. The Eagles had two costly errors in the inning. Add it all up, and giving the nation's No. 1 team five outs is a prescription for trouble.
One of the biggest hits in the inning for Indianapolis was a two-run single by first baseman Bailey Wittenauer. The inning also included a stolen base, a batter hit by a pitch and a couple of ground balls the Eagles mishandled on the infield.
Just to make sure the Eagles didn't get any comeback ideas, Indianapolis added two runs in the third inning. After singles by shortstop Taylor Russell and third baseman Kelsey Rummel, right fielder Casey Williamson ripped a two-run triple to right field.
At the start of the game, it appeared as if the Eagles might put the Greyhounds back on their heels. Third baseman Jerrica Young (Loudonville, Ohio) led off with a double to center field and moved to third on a wild pitch. But Indianapolis pitcher Morgan Foley, the GLVC freshman of the year, struck out second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon Washington) and designated player Jen Moore (Jeromesville, Ohio/Hillsdale). She squelched the threat by retiring right fielder Kourtney Yarnall (Canton, Ohio/Perry) on a pop fly to shortstop.
Amber McDermott (Creston, Ohio/Norwayne) took the loss for the Eagles. She's 13-7.
McDermott pitched the first three innings before leaving in favor of McKenna Galloway (Brunswick, Ohio). McDermott allowed 10 runs (seven earned) on eight hits. She didn't walk a batter and struck out three.
Foley (27-4) didn't allow a hit after the Young double until first baseman Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) opened the fifth inning with a double to center fielder. Again, Foley quieted the Eagles with three consecutive strikeouts. The hard-throwing rookie fanned 10 batters. She walked one.
This was AU's fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason. This team loses two starters to graduation – Gironda and catcher Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale).