HC Pitching Prevents Eagles From Sweep

Bri Buckley crosses home plate against Hillsdale during Sunday's first game.
Bri Buckley crosses home plate against Hillsdale during Sunday's first game.

Home Hardware has plenty of brooms and so does Drug Mart. However, there's not a broom yet to be found in the closet of the AU softball team.

Sunday (Apr. 6) at Brookside Park, the Eagles were poised to get a sweep against Hillsdale. AU won the first game of the GLIAC doubleheader, 5-3. In the second game, HC 's Sarah Grunert shut out the Eagles, 1-0.

AU has played three conference doubleheaders and has split every one. This was the third time this season the Eagles were shut out and it's the first time they've been whitewashed since losing to West Liberty, 3-0 on Mar. 8. In the four games prior to Sunday, the Eagles have averaged 8.0 runs per game.

Ashland is 14-9 and 3-3 in the league. The Chargers are 7-11 and 3-7.

In the first game, the Eagles scored a run in the first inning and three more in the second to grab a 4-0 lead. Third baseman Kayla Prokopakis doubled home Taylor Menhart for the first run. Cayla Seidler and Sarah Alley had run-scoring singles in the second and Menhart brought in another run with a ground ball to shortstop.

HC scored a run in the third inning and another in the fourth. Menhart singled in Bri Buckley, who had also singled, in the fourth. That gave the Eagles a 5-2 advantage.

At that point, AU starter and winner Brittany Flanigan (3-2) looked to be in fine shape. She retired the first batter in the fifth then issued a walk to Ainsley Ellison. That prompted AU head coach Sheilah Gulas to call on Amber McDermott. She went the final 2.2 innings and allowed an unearned run on three hits to earn her first save of the season.

Menhart was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI. AU managed six hits off of Hillsdale's Kate Ardrey (2-3), who pitched a complete game.

First baseman Melissa Felkey went 2-for-2.

The second game matched Alley against Grunert. Alley went the distance and allowed a run on four hits. She walked two and struck out three.

Grunert also pitched a complete game and permitted five hits. She walked two and struck out two.

The only run in the game scored in the third inning. HC's Bekah Kastning reached on a fielder's choice and moved up to second via a stolen base. She came around to score on a two-out single to center field by third baseman Jessica Knepper.

AU left seven runners on base. In the sixth inning, Alley led off with a double to right field and advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Kourtney Yarnall. Grunert retired Jen Moore on a fly ball to center field and escaped the jam by getting Shelbie Prince to pop out to shortstop.

In the seventh with two outs, Grunter walked pinch hitter McKenna Galloway but ended the game by inducing Seidler to ground out to the circle.

Alley went 2-for-3 and for Hillsdale, Knepper was 2-for-2.

Up next for the Eagles is a doubleheader at Lake Erie on Tuesday (Apr. 8).