Fighting Leatherneck Softball Crowned Victorious in Nine Inning Dog Fight
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Wednesday 03/11/2012
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - It took extra innings to decide the Summit League opening series winner between Western Illinois and IUPUI, but the Leathernecks edged out the Jaguars in the end taking the game by a 3-2 final score after nine full innings of play. Western Illinois is 7-13 on the year following the win and stands at 2-1 in conference play.

After a quiet first and second inning, the Leathernecks capitalized on a two-out rally in the top of the third inning. Jamie Goss drew the two-out walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. She scored from second on a hard single to right center field off the bat of catcher Lia Romeo, giving Western Illinois a 1-0 lead. Singles by Meg Kelly and Ashley Campbell followed, but the inning ended with bases loaded.

IUPUI threatened in the bottom of the third starting the inning off with a single. An error on the Jaguar sacrifice bunt put runners at first and second, however Romeo was able to throw out the lead runner on the play after the Jaguar took a big round off of second. Romeo also caught a Jaguar attempting to swipe third in the inning to halt the IUPUI momentum.

Marshall tried to spark a two-out rally in the fourth reaching first on a bunt single but was stranded ending the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, IUPUI started the inning off with a single to left but the Leatherneck defense gobbled up a fielder's choice and two ground outs to end the inning maintaining the 1-0 advantage.

In the top of the fifth, Goss led off with her second single of the game and moved up 60 feet on a Romeo sacrifice bunt. A Kelly hit by pitch and Jaguar failed fielder's choice juiced the bases for the Leathernecks with one out. A line-out and ground out left all three stranded.

Starting pitcher Kelsey Michelini started the bottom of the fifth with her second strike out of the game, but ran into trouble giving up two consecutive singles and a walk that loaded the bases for the Jaguars. Hailey Bickford took over on the mound and got the second out on an infield fly, but allowed a run to cross on a hit by pitch tying the game 1-1. An error on the field brought in another run, but the Western Illinois defense recovered catching a Jaguar at home on a 4-2 play.

Williams led off the sixth inning with an infield single and advanced on a Marshall sacrifice bunt. She came around to score on a catcher throwing error during KC Dunne's at bat evening the game 2-2. Bickford and company kept IUPUI off the board the bottom of the inning.

IUPUI got the Leathernecks three-up, three-down in the top of the seventh and ripped a lead off, pinch hit double to right center in the bottom of the inning. Bickford forced two pop outs and the inning ended on a line out to Williams in left forcing extra innings to solve the 2-2 deadlock.

In the eighth, Western Illinois went down 1-2-3 and took the field for defense. A single and stolen base put a Jaguar at second with not outs, but Bickford took it from there recording three strikeouts for the hat trick.

Western Illinois gained momentum in the ninth and started the inning off with a Dunne single down the left field line. Romeo was hit by a pitch putting Leathernecks at first and second with one out. Campbell hit a shot to left center plating Dunne with the single and giving Western Illinois a 3-2 advantage before the inning ended.

The Leatherneck defense solidified the 3-2 win sitting down the Jaguars in order in the bottom of the ninth. Bickford picked up her second win of the year in the circle bringing her record to 2-6 overall and 1-0 in Summit League play.

Campbell turned in a two-for-five performance including the go ahead hit in the ninth. Romeo and Goss also had multiple hits in the game going two-for-three and two-for-four respectively.

Western Illinois returns to the diamond on Tuesday (March 13) when they take on Kentucky in Lexington, Kent. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.

WIU Softball


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