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Left fielder Monica Rondon recorded 7 RBI with 2 home runs against North Carolina A&T.
Courtesy: WIU Visual Productions Center
Left fielder Monica Rondon recorded 7 RBI with 2 home runs against North Carolina A&T.
Leatherneck Softball Splits On Day One of Adidas Invitational
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Monday 03/08/2013
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ROCK HILL, S.C. - Western Illinois softball recorded a dominating 16-5 run rule win over North Carolina A&T in its opening game at the 2013 Adidas Invitational and fell 4-3 in a tight contest to Kent State on Friday (Mar. 8). The Leathernecks now own a 3-6 overall record.

Game #1 Friday, Mar. 8 at 11 a.m. (CDT)
Western Illinois 16, North Carolina A&T 5 (5 innings)

The Fighting Leathernecks exploded offensively in their opening 16-5 win over North Carolina A&T tallying a total of 16 runs in 5 innings of play on 12 hits. The surge solidified the squad's first run rule victory over an opponent in the 2013 season.

In the top of the first, Western opened the frame with a Sammy Marshall bunt single and stolen base. A Briana Williams sacrifice bunt followed by a Lia Romeo sacrifice fly to center brought Marshall around to score and give the Leathernecks an early 1-0 lead.

The Aggies answered in the bottom half of the inning picking up two runs of their own on two hits and an error.

In the second, the Leathernecks regained control of the contest when Alex Pflieger hit a two-run home run over the right field fence, her first of the season, scoring Teagan Walsh who started the inning with a single up the middle. Emma Jarrell followed the bomb with a single, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a Karissa Kouchis single up the middle. A Marshall single and Williams hit by pitch loaded up the bases for Romeo, who was hit by a pitch, scoring another run. Western used a Rondon groundout to score its fifth run before the inning ended.

After retiring the first three Aggies in the second, Western remained hot at the plate. A walk, a single and a walk loaded up the bases for Kouchis who once again came through with a RBI single through the left side. Another run came around to score on a Williams fielder's choice, then Rondon came through with a three-run homer over the wall to straight away center extending the team's lead to 12-2.

North Carolina A&T used a single, followed by back-to-back home runs to cut the deficit down to seven runs, but there was no stopping Western who went on to add four more runs in the fourth.

Back-to-back singles from Jarrell and Kouchis followed by a Marshall walk loaded the bases once again for the Leathernecks. Romeo plated a run with her second sacrifice fly of the game, then Rondon hit her second three-run home run in as many at bats. She now has a team-most four on the season.

The Leatherneck defense held the Aggies scoreless in the fourth and fifth to put the team's third win of 2013 in the books.

Kouchis was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with three singles and a season-most two RBI, while four picked up two hits apiece in the contest including Marshall (2-for-3), Jarrell (2-for-3), Rondon (2-for-4) and Pflieger (2-for-4). Rondon paced the squad with seven RBI in the contest, while Romeo added three and Pflieger notched two.

Starting pitcher Kacyee Hart (2-2) earned her second collegiate win, while Ashira Dobison (0-6) was tagged with the loss. Hart fanned five in her five innings pitched and allowed four earned runs.

Western was also a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases with Marshall recording two and Ryleigh Sears and Pflieger picking up one apiece.

Game #2 Friday, Mar. 8 at 1 p.m. (CDT)
Kent State 4, Western Illinois 3

Western's seventh inning comeback fell short handing the Leathernecks a 4-3 loss to Kent State in game two of the 2013 Adidas Invitational.

After two innings of scoreless play, Western struck first scoring two runs in the top of the third. Karissa Kouchis reached on an error, then moved into scoring position on a Sammy Marshall sacrifice bunt. After Briana Williams walked, the Leathernecks used a double steal to get runners to second and third for Lia Romeo who reached on an error to score a run. Teagan Walsh plated the second run with a single to right before the Golden Flashes ended the inning.

Kent State responded with two runs in the third and fourth innings on four hits and two errors to post its first lead of the game, 4-2, over the Leathernecks, which held up until the top of the seventh inning.

Western opened the frame with a Marshall walk and stolen base. She was moved to third, then brought home on back-to-back groundouts cutting the deficit down to 4-3 with two away. Golden Flash starting pitcher Emma Johnson (5-4) then used a strikeout to end the scoring drive and secure the final win in the circle.

Kelsey Michelini (1-4) was tagged with the loss. In her 4.1 innings of work, she earned four strikeouts. Walsh came on in relief tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless ball.

Williams and Walsh each recorded a hit for the Leathernecks going 1-for-3 at the plate. Romeo and Walsh both picked up an RBI in the contest.

Western remained lethal on the base paths with Marshall and Williams swiping 2-of-2 apiece and Kouchis adding one. The squad is now a perfect 24-for-24 in stolen bases so far this season.

The Leathernecks resume action at the 2013 Adidas Invitational on Saturday (Mar. 9) when they take on No. 24 Georgia at 2 p.m. (CDT) and Delaware State at 4 p.m. (CDT).

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