Shepherd Softball Uses Strong Pitching to Take Down Notre Dame (Ohio)

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The Rams (13-8) won two games Friday afternoon on the road against the Falcons (9-12) of Notre Dame (Ohio) to get continue their momentum from Tuesday’s strong second game against Millersville.

In game one, the Rams won by a 2-1 score, relying heavily upon their starting pitching. Junior pitcher Kaitlin Munda (5-5) threw a complete game, seven-inning gem.

Munda did allow seven hits for the Falcons, but only one run, to go along with one walk and three strikeouts.

Any time the Falcons seemed to get on base, they could not find a way to get them home thanks to Munda’s clutch pitching.

In the fifth inning, Munda gave up her only run (unearned) when infielder Rachelle Miller sent home a single that turned into a double following an error by the Rams’ shortstop. In the process, catcher/infielder Nicole Luciano came home to score.

By that point though, the Rams had a 2-1 lead that they would be able to hang onto from there to win the game.

Sophomore second baseman/shortstop Morgan Cox got the scoring started for the Rams with her RBI single to bring in junior outfielder Jessica Robinson to score the first run of the game.

Later, in the fourth inning, the Rams would score the eventual winning run off the bat of sophomore catcher/infielder Rachel Taylor. She blasted a single to left field, giving ample time for freshman infielder Debbie Stuart to round the bases and score.

Despite recording 11 hits in the contest, the Rams left several runners stranded in what was an offensive struggle to say the least in game one.

Game two would prove to be a different story though, for the Rams at least. Winning the game 6-0, the Rams were clicking on both sides of the plate.

Early on, both sides displayed stellar pitching performances. Senior starting pitcher Tara Hanson (5-2) earned the win by following along with Munda’s earlier performance. She threw a complete game, seven-inning masterpiece, consisting of six hits and one strikeout. Hanson showed she did not have to rely on strikeouts alone to control the Falcons’ offense.

Almost equally as impressive was the performance Taylor Olson displayed. She went a complete seven innings, but it was a five-run six inning that really made her stat sheet not look as good as it really was.

With the Rams leading only 1-0 in the top of the sixth inning, thanks to a RBI single to center field by sophomore shortstop/outfielder Kaitlyn Konopka in the second inning, Taylor again stepped up when it mattered most and delivered a two RBI double to right center field. Stuart and sophomore outfielder/second baseman Ariana Ramirez scored on the play.

Now up 3-0, the Rams again got to Olson with Konopka slicing home another RBI single, this time to left field, providing time for Taylor to round the bases and score.

The Rams scored their final two runs of the 6-0 shutout with Cox reaching first base and eventually second base thanks to errors by the Falcons’ third baseman and shortstop. These errors also permitted Konopka to reach third base and eventually home plate, but not before junior utility player Sarah North reach home plate with the errors.

These errors did not help with the fact that the Falcons had a difficult time to say the least in the contest, as they totaled just six hits at the hands of Hanson’s impressive outing.

Olson struck out two and walked one in the losing effort.

After the game, through email, Head Coach Danielle Easton of the Rams talked about whether or not the Rams continued their strong play from Tuesday’s game two win over Millersiville:

“Although the scores may not reflect it, we swung the bats pretty well today. We had 11 hits in game one and nine hits in game two. We just couldn’t seem to get the big hit with runners on, therefore we left a lot of runners stranded.”

Easton also talked about the challenges the Falcons presented to the Rams and what parts of the game the Rams played well in:

“Notre Dame has a lot of left-handed batters with speed. However, our infielders and pitching staff handled them nicely. We had a decent day all the way around and we are excited to have earned two more conference wins.”

Tomorrow afternoon, the Rams travel to Urbana University (Ohio) in a double-header set that begins at 2 p.m., followed by game two at 4 p.m.

Anthony Bracken is the Sports Editor of The Picket. He can be reached at abrack02@rams.shepherd.edu