Slugging Ichabods and stellar pitching silence Lopers

Make the connection: Freshman shortstop Hadley Kerschen sends a ball into right field for a single in the third inning.

After a thrilling come from behind victory in the first game the Washburn University softball team was set for the second game of its doubleheader against the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The 7-6 victory moved the Ichabods record to 18-4 on the year and 4-1 inside of the MIAA. A win would give Washburn a winning record on its short four game homestand.

The bats for both teams were quiet early on, with only one hit between both teams throughout the first inning and a half. That changed in the bottom of the second inning after an infield pop landed for a single by senior center fielder Brianna Fuchs. That was followed by a double into right field by freshman right fielder Kimi Patterson to give the Ichabods a 1-0 lead.

Junior pitcher Raegen Hamm began the game in the circle for Washburn and through three innings she had Nebraska at Kearney’s number, allowing only one hit with no runs as she attempted to bounce back from the loss the day before.

In the bottom of the third the Ichabods got a one out hit from freshman third baseman Marrit Mead which was followed up with a single into right field by freshman shortstop Hadley Kerschen, moving Mead to third. Freshman left fielder Jaycee Ginter would continue her successful day, driving Mead in, making the game 2-0.

Washburn would make it three straight scoring innings in the fourth inning. With two outs, freshman second baseman Jenna Moore connected on a pitch for a single and drove home on a home run from Marrit Mead that crashed into a tree over the left field fence. The hit gave the Ichabods a 4-0 lead which was moved to 5-0 in the next inning after junior catcher Bri Francis drove a ball over the fence in straight-away center field for a home run.

Hamm continued to make quick work of the Lopers, with a brisk 65 pitches through six scoreless innings. Sound defensive plays from herself and the fielders behind her helped to keep innings short and not need to rely on strikeouts.

“I was just really proud of her, I thought she stayed with the game plan, and she trusted what we were doing and really executed her pitches and shut down a really good hitting team,” said Washburn Head Coach Brenda Holaday.

In the bottom half of the inning Mead continued her torrid hitting with her second home run of the day, this one going over the fence in left-center, driving in freshman right fielder Paige Robbins who had walked earlier in the inning.

“I am always trying to get on base for the first at bat, and once I am trying to drive in runners I’m just trying to do my job, nothing special, just trying to get them in,” said Mead.

The hit moved Washburn ahead 7-0 as the game moved into the seventh and final frame. Hamm allowed a hit but ultimately did what she had done the first six innings slamming the door shut on Nebraska at Kearney and giving the Ichabods a series sweep.

“We played sharp and clean, our pitching was good, and we had some timely hits, that’s just more like what we have seen this year so it was really good to come away with two wins,” said Holaday.

Washburn will hit the road next week, traveling to take on Missouri Western State University and Northwest Missouri State University on April 2 and 3.

Edited by: Matthew L. Self