The Shawnee State softball program picked up a split withRio Grande on Wednesday afternoon, falling in game one 4-2 but winning game two in a walk-off 5-4 in eight innings.
After four scoreless innings, Rio Grande took the lead in the top of the fifth in game one. Kayla Slutz singled to lead off the game, and was pinch-run by Jaycie Parr. Kelly Fuchs grounded out to third to move Parr over to second base, and Michaela Criner singled to center field, which moved Parr to third base. Criner took second on defensive indifference, and with two outs, Kelsey Conkey doubled to center field to drive in both runners as the Scioto County native put Rio Grande up by a 2-0 margin.
Shawnee State, however, rallied to tie the game against the rival Red Storm in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Michal Cunningham singled to right field and reached second on Katlyn Gleich’s groundout. Marisa Brown followed with an RBI double, which drove in Cunningham to make the score 2-1, and Victoria Bevington, who would come in to pinch run for Brown, scored on Kayla Koch’s RBI single to tie the game at two apiece.
Rio Grande retook the lead in the top of the seventh as Fuchs led off the inning with a walk and was moved to third on Criner’s double to center field. Both runners would then score on Lexi Philen’s double to right field, which gave Rio Grande a 4-2 lead that they’d hold en route to the win.
Mallory Powell obtained the win, allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings, while Tatum Wise took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits in seven innings, striking out four.
Game two would start with Shawnee State getting out to an early lead. Cunningham and Gleich nailed back-to-back doubles to the outfield to lead off the inning and put SSU up by a 1-0 margin quickly. Aubrey Azbill then threw a wild pitch, which allowed Gleich to get to third. Gleich then scored on Kayla Koch’s groundout to shortstop, which gave Shawnee State a 2-0 lead.
Rio Grande responded with a run in the top of the third. With one out, Fuchs singled to shallow left field and advanced to third on Criner’s double to left field. Fuchs then scored on Philen’s groundout to second base, cutting the Shawnee State lead to 2-1. However, the Bears stranded Criner at third to maintain the lead.
That stop would prove to be big, as Shawnee State scored two additional runs to extend the lead in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Koch hit a solo home run to left center, which gave Shawnee State a 3-1 lead. Stacy Trenholm followed with a double down the left field line, and scored on Bevington’s two-out RBI single to give SSU a 4-1 lead.
Rio Grande rallied to tie the game in the top of the fifth. Kayla Slutz would lead off the inning with a single, and Fuchs followed with a double to center field, which moved courtesy runner Kaycie Parr to third. Criner then obtained a bunt single, which scored Parr on the squeeze and cut the lead to 4-2. Philen then follow with a bunt squeeze of her own, scoring Criner and putting two on with nobody out. With one out, Mallory Powell singled to left-center, scoring Criner and tying the game at four apiece. Shawnee State then retired the remaining order to hold the score at 4-4.
Again, that proved to be critical. Haley Rawlins led off the bottom half of the seventh with a double to left-center, and got to third on Bevington’s bunt. SSU pinch ran with Megan Rearick, and put in Wise for Mackenzie Riley at the plate. Wise followed by delivering for the Bears, hitting an RBI single to right field to give Shawnee State the 5-4 win.
McKenzie Whittaker obtained the win, allowing four runs on 11 hits in seven innings and striking out three. Aubrey Azbill took the loss, allowing five runs on nine hits in six and one-third innings of work.
The split with Rio, and Kentucky Christian on Tuesday, moves Shawnee State to 19-13 on the season. Rio Grande is now 24-11 on the year.
The Shawnee State softball program returns to Mid-South Conference action on Friday and Saturday when they welcome Lindsey Wilson to Portsmouth. First pitch of Friday’s game one is set for 3 p.m.