Jenna Jones tossed an opening game no-hitter, Kelsey Conkey followed with a game two shutout and Cheyenne Hamaker had a pair of big games at the plate to lead the University of Rio Grande in a doubleheader sweep of Montreat College, Saturday evening, in non-conference softball action at Roxy Hines Memorial Field.
The RedStorm rolled to an 8-0 mercy rule-shortened victory in game one before posting a 5-0 triumph in the nightcap.
Rio Grande, ranked No. 24 in the NAIA coaches poll, improved to 13-6 with the two wins.
Montreat, a member of the NAIA’s Appalachian Athletic Conference, dropped to 6-20 as a result of the losses.
Jones, a senior from Lancaster, Ohio, picked up her second consecutive victory after beginning the season with a trio of losses. She allowed just three base runners in the contest – one on a second inning walk, one on a fourth inning error and another on an error in the fifth inning.
Jones finished with five strikeouts.
Rio scored what proved to be the only run it would need in the first inning when senior Alex Stevens reached on a one-out walk and scored all the way from first on a two-out single to right-center by junior Taylor Arndt.
The RedStorm tacked on four more runs in the third inning thanks to RBI fielder’s choice grounder to second off the bat of Arndt, a two-run single by Conkey and an RBI single by senior Kari Jenkins.
Rio finished the scoring in the fourth inning when Hamaker – a senior from Hilliard, Ohio – hit a three-run home run, her first of the season.
Hamaker finished 2-for-3 with the three RBI.
Ronnie Ellis took the loss for the Cavaliers, allowing eight hits and all eight runs over three-plus innings.
In the nightcap, Conkey — a sophomore from Minford, Ohio — scattered five hits while walking none and striking out five for her fifth win in sixth decisions.
She got all of the offensive assistance she would need in the top of the first when Hamaker led off with a bunt single and scored on a one-out double to left-center by sophomore Carly Skeese (Newark, Ohio).
The RedStorm pushed the lead to 2-0 in the third when Stevens singled with one out and scored on a two-out error, before blowing things open with two runs in the sixth inning and another insurance marker in the seventh.
Hamaker doubled home the two sixth inning runs and Conkey helped her own cause with a run-scoring single in the seventh.
Hamaker finished 3-for-4, while Stevens and Skeese added two hits apiece.
Mikki Shelton and Malyn Nocera had two hits each for Montreat, while Allison Moody started and took the loss for the Cavaliers.
For the season, the redshirt sophomore holds a 5-1 record with a stout 1.41 ERA for Rio Grande. The junior leads the pitching staff in complete games (four), shutouts (two), innings pitched (44.2), and opponent batting average (.183). Conkey also holds a .273 batting average and has collected one home run while driving in a total of nine RBI for the RedStorm over the course of the year.
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