Softball Continues to Deal With Struggles

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The Shepherd University softball team has lost three of their last four games with their only win coming in dominating fashion against Urbana. In addition, their victory Saturday, April 5 against the Blue Knights was a much-needed win. The Rams had not won a game since March 16 when they defeated Kutztown by a final score of 8-7. Before facing Urbana, Shepherd had to face a hard-hitting and twenty-third ranked West Virginia Wesleyan team on Wednesday, April 2. The Rams were outperformed in all aspects in the first game as they fell 17-1 to the Bobcats and despite an early lead and determined effort, Wesleyan rallied for an 8-2 win in the nightcap.

Shepherd’s only run in game one came in the third inning courtesy of sophomore outfielder Kass Taylor, who reached based on an infield single and later scored off an RBI by freshman Jennifer Schofield. Taylor went 2-for-2 on the day to help lead the team. The Rams did not had an answer for the play of Jessica Griffin of the Bobcats as she had an outstanding day by going 4-for-4 with three doubles, four RBI and three runs scored. Carly Gregory went 3-for-4 in the game, including a grand slam to break the game wide open in the fourth inning.

In the nightcap game against West Virginia Wesleyan the Rams responded from their disappointing defeat in game one by holding the Bobcats scoreless for the early portion of the game and posting a 2-0 lead in the third inning when freshman third baseman Alexandra Witt continued her impressive first season by hitting a two-out double which was followed up by senior shortstop Jess Mason’s two-run blast to left field. Nonetheless, the Bobcats proved why they are highly ranked as they scored five runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth in route to claiming an 8-2 win and improve to 22-6 on the year.

Shepherd’s doubleheader against Mountain East Conference rival Urbana at home on Saturday consisted of two thrilling games, one of which resulted in a desperately needed win for the Rams. In game one, defensive play and pitching highlighted the contest, as both teams remained scoreless until the 10th inning. Katelyn Edwards of Urbana knocked a two-run homer out of the park to give the Blue Knights a 2-0 lead in the top of the 10th however, the Rams answered back in the bottom of the inning thanks to RBI-doubles by junior first baseman Savannah Snyder and the aforementioned Schofield. Unfortunately, they would come up short as Urbana answered back by plating five quick runs in the 11th inning to claim the 7-3 win. Snyder led the Rams in this contest by going 2-for-3 while freshman pitcher Tara Hanson, despite the loss, had a great performance by going 10.2 innings pitched with four hits, three runs, one earned run and 20 K’s.

The Rams recorded 14 hits in a five inning, 12-0 shutout win over Urbana in the nightcap. The Blue Knights appeared fatigued and unfocused after battling over 11 innings with Shepherd to win game one while on the other hand, the Rams were just the opposite. Witt led the team by going 2-for-4 at the plate, including a game changing grand slam. Junior outfielder Tayler Schaefer also had productive day by going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Even more impressive, Shepherd freshman pitcher Kirsten Barstad had a career day as she allowed Urbana only one hit, struck out two batters and gained the shutout win. Finally, the 12-0 win over Urbana on Saturday marked the Ram’s first win this 2014 season against a Mountain East Conference opponent. With the MEC Tournament and the end of the regular season approaching, the Shepherd softball team needs to build on this splendid win and continue to play like they did in this game versus Urbana if they want to have any post season success and prove there is plenty of talent on this team.