Blues lose 4-2

Rob Burkett / Washburn Review

After falling in a slide of losses recently, the Lady Blues softball team moved out of MIAA conference play to take on a Division II independent in Northeastern State University.

Coming into Friday’s doubleheader against the Riverhawks, Washburn had struggled to earn wins having lost four straight after earning seven wins in a row prior to this point in the season.

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves so far this season,” said Washburn head coach Vanessa Becerra. “Our girls are getting better as the season goes on.”

NSU came in with a 17-15 record on the year. In what will soon be an annual conference matchup, Washburn was able to get a split, winning the rubber match to end its losing streak at five games.

In the opening game, senior pitcher Lindsey Moore took to the circle. In the first three innings, neither team was able to score. Moore started the game strong, striking out five NSU batters while only giving up one hit. The Riverhawks answered with pitcher Cayce Coleman, who also started the game holding Washburn scoreless in the first three frames.

In the fourth inning, however, NSU would get to Moore as the bats came alive, scoring three runs. Despite this outburst, Moore managed to compose herself and battle through the inning.

“[She] had a tough inning in there, but she kept her head,” said Becerra.

Showing resilience, the Lady Blues responded in the fifth stanza, scoring two runs, closing the deficit 3-2. Washburn would be unable to close the deficit any closer as NSU finished off the game, scoring an insurance run in the seventh inning to go up 4-2.

Moore finished the game going a complete game seven innings, spreading four earned runs out while racking up five strikeouts against 32 batters.

In the second game it looked like more of the same as the Riverhawks jumped out to an opening inning lead 2-0 in the top half. Washburn’s offense however came to play as one run in the bottom of the first followed by a three run inning in the bottom of the second.

With a 3-2 lead, freshman pitcher Kayla Oldham went to work, holding NSU to just two runs in the game while spreading out 12 hits over a seven inning complete game effort.

Not content to just have the lead, the Lady Blues released a barrage of scoring, putting together a five run fourth inning. That would be all Washburn needed as the team cruised the rest of the way, assisted by six errors committed by NSU. With the split Washburn’s record improves to 14-18 on the season. The second series of the weekend was rained out in what would have been a matchup against the University of Central Oklahoma.

The Lady Blues now return to a MIAA schedule this coming weekend. The team will travel east on a two series swing that will take them first to Northwest Missouri State University on Friday April 13 for a doubleheader before traveling on to Truman State University the following day. The two opponents are currently ranked eighth and eleventh in the conference standings. With just two games separating Washburn from the top four in the conference, the Lady Blues hope to build momentum on the road where the team has struggled this season, going 5-9 on the road so far this year. The team will return to home action April 20 against Pittsburg State University in a doubleheader before ending the regular season against Missouri Southern State University the following day in a doubleheader finale.