Softball splits second doubleheader

No. 10 Southern Indiana lost the second game of a GLVC doubleheader by one run after a failed comeback attempt for the second time in two days.

USI rallied from being down 4-0 in game two on Sunday when they came within one run of tying late in the game. Second basewoman, Claire Johnson, homered to center field scoring what ended up being USI’s last run in the 5-4 loss.

Both teams were scoreless going into the fourth inning until Rockhurst’s shortstop, Lauren Marks, homered off of USI starting pitcher, Courtney Atkisson (6-3), bringing in three runs. Later in the inning, Rockhurst picked up another run off an RBI single by centerfielder, Megan Freitag.

In the fifth, USI began their attempt at rallying back by scoring three runs. Two of them cameoff RBI singles by shortstop, Lexi Reese, and right fielder, Grace Clark. USI also picked up a free run after third basewoman, Mena Fulton, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. USI ended the inning with the bases loaded.

The final runs scored for both teams came in the sixth inning, including the winning run for Rockhurst. USI’s Jennifer Leonhardt (10-1), who was pitching in relief of Atkisson, allowed her only run of the weekend to Rockhurst second basewoman Kelsey Tepen, who singled up the middle scoring teammate, Lauren Marks, for what became the game-winning run.

“I think it was the fact that we didn’t get on top of them early and they scored the first runs,” Leonhardt said. “We knew we had to fight back, and our defense wasn’t the best today. We know we have stuff to work on all the way around.”

Leonhardt said she needs to do a better job ending innings after getting the first two outs instead of allowing opposing teams to extend innings by giving them opportunities to score that they shouldn’t have.

When Leonhardt gave up the winning run in game two, she was one out away from ending the inning.

“We were down four nothing, and we always battle back, but it left us in a hole,” Sue Kunkle,

USI’s head coach, said. We’re good at coming back, but that’s a tough loss because that’s a team we should beat. We have to win some games next weekend.”

Kunkle said the team left too many runners on base during the second game, and her players shouldn’t rely on power hitting as much in those situations.

USI ended the game with eight runners left on base and loaded the bases in the first inning and the fifth, but only managed to score a total of two runs with the bases loaded.

USI did manage to take Sunday’s first game after another stellar performance from Leonhardt.

She finished the weekend with two complete game shutouts and a 0.43 ERA. For her efforts, Leonhardt was named GLVC Softball Pitcher of the Week.

The Eagles won game one 6-0 after scoring all six runs in the fifth inning, including an RBI single from Leonhardt and a three-run double by shortstop, Lexi Reese.

With the loss, USI sits at 2-2 in conference play. They play another GLVC game Saturday against Drury University followed by more conference play on Sunday against the Missouri University of Science and Technology.