The University of Rio Grande totaled 27 runs and 28 hits in a doubleheader sweep of Ohio University-Chillicothe, Friday afternoon, in non-conference softball action at Rio Softball Park.
The RedStorm rolled to a 17-0 triumph over the Hilltoppers in game one, while recording a 10-2 rout in the nightcap. Both games were shortened to five innings as a result of the eight-run mercy rule.
Rio Grande finished the day at 26-11.
OU-Chillicothe, which was playing its only games against NAIA competition this season, slipped to 7-5 as a result of the sweep.
Junior pitcher Kacee Jenkins took a perfect game into the fifth inning of the opener before Chillicothe’s Makenzie Barr reached on a single to left.
Jenkins allowed just the one hit while striking out three.
Rio did all of the offensive damage it would need in the first inning, scoring six times. Junior Carly Skeese delivered the big blow in the inning with a two-run double.
The RedStorm then added three runs in both the second and third innings before scoring five times in the fourth.
Freshman Mary Pica hit a two-run home run in the second, sophomore Lexi Philen had a two-run double in the third and freshman Kaitlin Heimberger hit a three-run home run – the first of her collegiate career – as part of the five-run fourth inning.
Pica and Heimberger both finished with two hits and three RBI, while Philen and Skeese had two hits and two RBI each. Both of Skeese’s hits were doubles and Philen also had a double.
Freshman Aubrey Azbill had two hits and drove in a run in the winning effort, while senior Mallory Powell and junior Kelly Fuchs both doubled and freshman Cammy Hesson had a triple.
Mary Howard went the distance in the pitcher’s circle and suffered the loss for the Hilltoppers.
In game two, Rio Grande scored in each of its five at bats, including three-run innings in both the second and third.
Sophomore Kieri Johnson went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs batted in, while sophomore Michaela Criner also went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Powell tripled, doubled and drove in one run, while Philen doubled and drove in two runs and Pica had a double and a run batted in.
Azbill got the win in the circle, allowing three hits and two runs – one earned – in a complete game effort.
Mariah Burton drove in a run for OU-Chillicothe, while Alexis Cooper started and took the loss for the Hilltoppers.
Criner, Powell sweep RSC Weekly Awards
University of Rio Grande shortstop Michaela Criner and pitcher Mallory Powell have been named the River States Conference Softball Player of the Week and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for the week of April 9-15.
Criner, a sophomore from Bremen, Ohio, hit .632 in six games last week, going 12-for-19 with eight runs, three doubles, a home run and six RBIs. She also walked twice and was 1-for-1 in stolen bases.
Rio Grande went 4-2 in those games as a team.
The biggest game of the week for Criner was going 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in a 9-0 win over Midway (Ky.) in conference play. Later in the week, she batted 6-for-8 in a doubleheader split at Shawnee State, which included three total runs and two doubles.
Criner went 4-for-5 with four runs combined in a doubleheader sweep of Ohio Chillicothe.
Powell, a senior from Flatwoods, Ky., threw two great games to join teammate Kelsey Conkey as players who have won both RSC Player and Pitcher of the Week this year.
Powell threw a two-hit shutout over Midway (Ky.) in a key conference victory and then took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of an eventual 4-2 win over non-conference rival Shawnee State.
The win over Midway covered five innings with four strikeouts, one walk and no runs in the 9-0 victory. She beat Shawnee State with four strikeouts, two walks and only two runs on two hits over seven innings.