Softball Reverts to Early Season Struggles

For much of the month of April, the Shepherd University softball team seemed to have finally found their secret to success. However, as the regular season has concluded, the Rams once again began to revert to their early season struggles. They will finish the regular season near the bottom of the 2014 Mountain East Conference softball standings after winning only nine games against conference opponents. On the other end of the standings spectrum lie the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats who recently claimed the regular season championship after going 23–4 in games against Mountain East Conference teams this season. Shepherd now waits to be seeded for the MEC tournament, which begins May 2.

On Wednesday, April 23, Fairmont State traveled to Shepherdstown, W.Va. and swept the Rams in doubleheader action. The Falcons were able to hang on for a 7–5 win in game one and claimed a 3–2 win in the nightcap over the Lady Rams. Fairmont State took their first lead in game one in the third inning after Nikki Nuzum led off with a single and then later scored off a Ram’s error. Nonetheless, Shepherd took a 3–1 lead in the bottom of the frame after capitalizing on an error committed by the Falcons while junior outfielder Tayler Schaefer had an RBI-single to plate the other run.

Fairmont State responded in dramatic fashion and took the lead for good when Carlie Mundie hit a home run out of the park to plate three runs for her team. The Falcons also added a pair of runs in the seventh inning with the aid of another Ram’s error. Shepherd was able to cut the lead to 7–5 in the bottom of the seventh after freshman third baseman Alexandra Witt took some pitches and was walked with the bases load. Despite the late attempt at a rally, the Falcons held on for the win. Sophomore outfielder Kass Taylor led the Rams in this contest with a two-for-three effort at the dish.

In the nightcap, Fairmont state once again jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Ram’s error after Sarah Parsons was hit by a pitch and later scored on an ensuing error. The Ram’s responded, like they typically and almost always do, in the third, and tied the game when Witt hit a solo home run. However, once again errors would be the downfall for the Rams as they committed two in the fourth inning, resulting in a Falcons run. Still, the Rams would not go away and tied the game in the fifth after Witt led off with a single and later scored on a sac-fly by freshman third baseman Rachel Kline. It would not be enough though and Fairmont State scored the game-winning point in the seventh on an RBI-single by Amanda Skidmore.

The Shepherd softball team managed to split with MEC rival Wheeling Jesuit in doubleheader action on Saturday, April 26. The bats came alive for the Rams in game one as they won decisively by the score of 16–6. However, Wheeling Jesuit rebounded to earn a 5–4 victory in the nightcap. In the game one win, Shepherd belted 14 hits while nine of the runs they scored came in the final two innings to make the win lopsided. Taylor and junior first baseman Savannah Snyder each went two-for-five and drove in four runs while Witt had another outstanding performance by going three-for-four with four runs scored and two RBIs. Freshman pitcher Kirsten Barstad picked up the win for the Rams and improves to 4–6 on the year.

Angie Reddick led Wheeling Jesuit in their 5–4 nightcap victory as she had two hits, scored a run, and drove in another. Rachel Kline, who had a two-run double, led the Rams and junior catcher Shanan Plunkett who belted a solo homer to left. However, it was not enough as the Falcons held on for the win.

The Lady Rams will begin Mountain East Tournament action on Friday, May 2.

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