Softball sweeps Eastern Michigan

Elias Faneuff and Elias Faneuff

The Falcons softball team went 3-0 over the weekend against Mid-American Conference opponent the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Meserve Field.

The team won both games in Saturday’s doubleheader by scores of 5-0 and 3-2. On Sunday, the Falcons won by a score of 3-1 in a single game matchup.

“It was a great defensive weekend for us,” Falcons Head Coach Sarah Willis said. “Our defense was making plays behind our pitchers all weekend. It was great to see the defense being aggressive early every game, playing free and showing our pitchers that they were behind them. Offensively, one through nine we did a great job in terms of situational hitting. If someone went down, someone else picked them back up. They did a good job of executing, moving runners and hitting situationally.”

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Falcons loaded the bases early following three straight singles in the bottom of the second inning. Junior second baseman Katee Hinkle was walked, giving the team a 1-0 lead. The team added on to their lead following an RBI single by sophomore outfielder Alex Sorgi as the ball went right to the Eastern Michigan pitcher to give her team a 2-0 lead. Senior third baseman Haley Schrock hit next and sent a pop up deep to right field, but the Eastern Michigan fielder was unsuccessful in catching the pop fly, as the ball bounced off the tip of her glove. This drove in three unearned runs, and the Falcons took a commanding 5-0 lead. The Falcon defense was able to shut down any Eastern Michigan offensive possession the rest of the way, giving sophomore pitcher Meredith Miller some comfort on the mound as the Falcons got the win 5-0.

“After that first inning, I asked coach what was going on,” Miller said. “Am I missing spots? Is my drive off the mound slow? I felt like I had good snap on the ball, but they were making good contact. The next few innings, I just focused on pushing off the mound as hard as I could, fast arm circle, good snap and trying to hit the spots.”

In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Falcons struck first in the bottom of the fourth as sophomore Kiley Sosby hit a home run toward left center giving the team a 1-0 lead. The team got on the board once again as the bases were loaded later in the inning.

The team gathered two runs following RBI singles by Sorgi and junior shortstop Aspen Searle giving the Falcons a 3-0 lead.

However, the Eagles responded in the top of fifth with runners on second and third. Freshman outfielder Kendyl Wheeler tried to get to a pop fly toward right field, but was unable to make the catch giving Eastern Michigan the unearned run. The Eagles added another run in the top of the sixth following a home run toward left field, putting more pressure on the Falcons. The Eagles were unable to produce in the top of the seventh, and the Falcons took the victory 3-2.

“It was great to see Kiley hit that shot to left-center to start the momentum for us in that second game,” Willis said. “She had a great day offensively. She’s been working very hard, and got her chance today and made the most of it. Where there’s an opportunity, there’s someone waiting to capitalize.”

On Sunday, Eastern Michigan got on the board first in the top in the second. Following a successful bunt that resulted in a throwing error toward first base, the runner on third was able to get across the plate and the Eagles led 1-0 early.

The Falcons responded in the bottom of the third with the bases loaded. Junior infielder Chelsea Raker hit a 2 RBI single toward the middle of the field that gave her team a 2-1 lead with no outs. Shortly after, Hinkle hit a sacrifice fly toward left field that drove in another run giving the Falcons a 3-1 lead. Neither team showed any offense late, and the Falcons held on to the 3-1 win at home.

“There have been some unpredictable games and series around the MAC, and it’s been very interesting so far this year,” Willis said. “But, we just talk about the ‘controllables.’ What we can control is the series that we’re in and the game that we’re in. We’re just trying to focus on one inning at a time and making the plays we need to make.”

The team will be on the road on Wednesday as they take on the Miami RedHawks in a single game matchup beginning at 3 p.m.