Wildcats split first two games on Florida softball trip

Wayne State posted a big win over a top-10 team and came away with a split in the first two games of their annual Florida Spring Break Trip on Sunday in Leesburg, Fla.

In the first game, the Wildcats used a key two-run single in the sixth inning from freshman Ashley Hernandez and a complete-game pitching performance from junior Riley Vanderveen to open with a 4-2 victory over No. 6-ranked West Virginia Wesleyan at the National Training Center Spring Games.

West Virginia Wesleyan took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a solo homer and the score stayed that way until the Wildcats struck for four runs in the top of the sixth inning. Rachel Shumaker started the rally with a run-scoring single that brought home Emily Chandler to tie the score at. With two outs, Hernandez came through with a two-run single that scored Chandler and pinch-runner Sarah Hunter for a 3-1 Wildcat lead. Hernandez then scored when Annie Grammer reached on an error for a 4-1 WSC lead.

West Virginia Wesleyan made the game interesting in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one run while loading the bases, but Vanderveen got the final out on a pop up to first to end the game, giving Wayne State the upset victory.

Both teams had seven hits in the contest. Grammer finished 2-for-3 to lead the Wildcats. Hernandez had a two-run single while Shumaker chipped in with an RBI single. Vanderveen (1-1) fired a complete game win in the circle for the Wildcats, allowing just two runs, both earned, on seven hits with one walk and no strikeouts.

In the second game of the day, Ashland University snapped a 5-5 tie with a seven-run fifth inning to post a 13-8 win over the Wildcats.

The Wildcats built a 5-0 advantage after two innings, as Shumaker had an RBI single in the first while Chandler belted a three-run homer to highlight the big second inning.

Ashland came back, however, scoring three in the third, two more in the fourth and a seven-run fifth inning to take control of the game.

The Wildcats plated three runs in the bottom of the sixth, two coming on a Jordyn Breitbarth home run and the other on a Ashland error. The Eagles added an insurance run in the seventh to finish off the win.

Ashland held a 12-8 advantage in hits on the Wildcats and also took advantage of five Wildcat errors. Only five of Ashland’s runs were earned.

Breitbarth was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and RBI double to pace the Wildcats at the plate. Shumaker added two hits while Chandler produced a three-run homer and Ashley Hernandez doubled.

Reliever Alyx Hagen (1-2) suffered the pitching loss after starter Maddie Moser worked the first four innings. Hagen was charged with seven runs in one inning, allowing five hits and two walks. Allison Niemeier pitched the final two innings and allowed one run on one hit.

Wayne State (2-5) will face No. 13 Southern Indiana at 1 p.m. and Notre Dame College of Ohio at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon at the National Training Center Spring Games in Clermont, Fla.

The Wayne Herald

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