By Adam Samson/Sports Information Director
COLUMBIA, Mo. – It was a tale of two games for the Stephens College softball team on Wednesday evening. The Stars split Wednesday’s doubleheader with NCAA DIII Westminster College, suffering a 3-0 shutout in game one before finding their rhythm offensively and running away with an 11-4 victory.
Both teams picked up their first wins of the season. Stephens improved to 1-3, while Westminster moved to 1-6 on the year. Up next for the Stars is a trip to Arkansas to open American Midwest Conference play with Lyon and Williams Baptist. Currently, Stephens is scheduled to play Lyon on Friday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Williams Baptist on Saturday at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and a non-conference matchup with Ecclesia College on Sunday at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m Stay tuned for more information with rain in the forecast for Friday’s doubleheader.
Game One – Westminster College 3, Stephens College 0
Westminster and Stephens had their fair share of big-time plays on defense, but it was RHP Alyson Hahn who gave the Blue Jays the edge in game one. Hahn made it extremely difficult for the Stars to get on base, tossing a complete-game shutout and tallying eight strikeouts along the way.
The Blue Jays made their move in the top of the second when Anne Baker delivered a double to deep left to take an early 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Baker scored to put WC ahead, 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, Stephens found some life at the plate and recorded two of its three hits for the game. Jessica Kane singled thru the hole at shortstop, while Monica Nakamatsu hit one up the middle. Unfortunately, both were left stranded. Catcher Sarah Dooley registered the other hit, which came in the second inning.
Westminster speedster Brittany Hodge led off the fifth inning with a triple to deep right and later scored to give the visitors an extra insurance run. The Blue Jays wouldn’t need it as Hahn retired 12 of the next 13 batters.
SC starting pitcher Katelyn Rush had a solid outing, giving up three runs across seven innings, along with two Ks.
Game Two – Stephens College 11, Westminster College 4
In the nightcap, Stephens used a pair of big innings at the plate to blow past the Blue Jays. In fact, with 18 hits, the Stars totaled more hits than the previous three games combined. All nine SC batters registered at least one hit in the win.
Playing as the visitors in Game 2, the Stars found themselves in an early hole when Westminster put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first.
It didn’t take long for Stephens to answer. The Stars loaded the bases and got one run on a Juliana Hitchcock single to shortstop. Then with two outs, Jessica Kane knocked in three RBI with a blast to deep center to take their first lead at 4-2.
In the third, Westminster made its move and tied the ballgame at 4-4 with a sequence of events that led to an SC pitching change. Head coach Tracy Dean brought in Katelyn Rush to pitch the Stars out of a jam. With just one out, Rush stranded two Blue Jay runners on second and third with back-to-back strikeouts.
In the top of the fifth, Jamie Martin, who was 3-for-4 against Briar Cliff, found the pitch on a 2-0 count and sent it over the right-center fence. The Stars regained the lead on the 225-foot home run and added one more run for a 6-4 advantage.
Rush continued to muscle her way through the Westminster lineup and gave up just two hits in 4.2 innings of relief. The sophomore from Jefferson City, Mo., registered her first win of the year.
The Stars piled on five more runs in the final two frames to secure the victory. Kane, Katie Heaton and Cheyenne Jones led the way with three hits apiece, while Nakamatsu, Martin and Dooley each had two hits.