Eagles sweep ‘homeless’ Rangers

Jimmy Pyles

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside was the home team this weekend at USI due to the bad weather their campus has endured this year.

“In my twelve years with the team this is by far, weather-wise, one of the worst spring seasons for us,” said Laura Fillipp, head softball coach for UW-Parkside. “We have only had one practice outside, four games on our field this year, so it has been a pretty challenging spring for us.”

With the changes in their schedule due to bad weather, UW-Parkside has played 14 games away from home, while four of them were postponed.

“Our team is tired of being on a bus,” Fillipp said. “We have been on a bus since the middle of February, aside from one home week. USI is quality place to play and the field is in great shape, but it’s not home.”

Although UW-Parkside was considered the home team, they didn’t have any advantages as Eagles (24-17, 12-14 GLVC) swept the Rangers in Sunday’s doubleheader, beating the Rangers 3-2, 10-3.

In game one, sophomore Brooke Harmening threw 101 pitches, giving up only seven hits through seven innings of work, improving her season record to 17-9.

The Eagles were able to make Harmening the winning pitcher thanks to a seventh inning rally with USI down to its last out, the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second base.

Junior outfielder Kyla Gogel hit a ground ball that was mishandled by Rangers shortstop Jessica Loy which went into center field, allowing both runners to score and the Eagles escaped with a 3-2 win.

Going into the second game, the Eagles started up where they left off.

In the third inning, the Eagles scored a pair of runs as junior Kelsey Jankowski followed Harmening’s RBI-double with an RBI-single, giving USI a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning before the Rangers answered by putting three runs on the board, taking a 3-2 lead.

The Eagles had a huge fourth inning thanks to a two-out grand slam by Jankowski, bringing in four runs to put USI up 6-3.

“I didn’t feel it when I hit it, but after it went over the fence, it felt good,” Jankowski said “It’s always a good feeling to help the team out.”

Jankowski went 2-4 and had 5 RBI’s in the second game.

After the six run fourth inning, freshman pitcher Sarah Owens shut down the Rangers offense, throwing four scoreless innings as she earned a complete-game victory for the Eagles, giving up three runs off nine hits. Owens improved her record to 6-7.

The Eagles will wrap up the regular season this week with games against Kentucky Wesleyan College, Bellarmine University and McKendree University, in hopes of earning a wildcard spot in the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament.