The University of Rio Grande put itself in the driver’s seat of the River States Conference softball standings by sweeping a doubleheader from league co-leader Indiana University Southeast on Friday afternoon.
The RedStorm posted 4-0 and 5-2 wins over the Grenadiers in a showdown of RSC unbeatens at the Koetter Sports Complex.
Rio Grande improved to 19-8 overall and 6-0 in conference play as a result of the sweep.
IU Southeast, which has lost to the RedStorm in each of the last three conference tournament finals, dropped to 8-10 overall and 4-2 in the RSC.
Junior Kelsey Conkey (Minford, OH), the league’s reigning Pitcher and Player of the Year, was the star of the opening game win.
In the pitcher’s circle, the right-hander scattered three singles in a complete game shutout effort.
At the plate, Conkey drove in three of the RedStorm’s four runs – two of which came on a seventh-inning home run.
Freshman Kaitlin Heimberger (Lancaster, OH) had two hits, including a double, in her first varsity start for Rio, while sophomore Michaela Criner (Bremen, OH) finished 2-for-4 and freshman Mary Pica (Minford, OH) had a double and a run batted in.
Becca Schoenung started and took the loss for IUS.
In game two, Rio junior pitcher Kacee Jenkins (Jackson, OH) came within one out of her own shutout. She allowed seven hits in a complete game effort, walking none and striking out three.
IUS avoided a second straight blanking thanks to a two-out, two-run double by Kaitlyn Flowers in the home half of the seventh.
The RedStorm had built a 5-0 lead prior to that point, though, thanks to single markers in the first, second and fourth innings and two runs in the top of the seventh.
Criner went 4-for-5 in the victory, while Conkey had two hits and two RBI in the winning effort.
Sydney Seger and Emily Weiss had two hits each in a losing cause for the Grenadiers.
Weiss also suffered the loss as the IUS pitcher, allowing 11 hits and fanning four in a complete game effort.
Rio Grande’s scheduled twin bill at Brescia University last Saturday was postponed due to the threat of inclement weather and has been rescheduled for Friday, April 27, at 2 p.m. in Owensboro, Ky.
The RedStorm returned to the diamond Friday against West Virginia University-Tech at Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, W.Va.