LIMA, Ohio — Kelsey Conkey and Kacee Jenkins both tossed complete game four-hitters, while Michaela Criner and Carly Skeese each hit a home run as the University of Rio Grande swept a doubleheader from the University of Northwestern Ohio, Tuesday afternoon, in non-conference softball action at Racers Park.
The RedStorm used a three-run fourth inning and five-run sixth inning to post a 9-1 mercy rule-shortened victory in the opener, while a two-run sixth inning helped secure a 4-0 win in the nightcap.
Rio Grande, which entered the twinbill ranked No. 24 in the NAIA coaches’ poll, extended its winning streak to 15 straight games and upped its overall record to 26-6 with the two wins.
UNOH, which dropped an 8-7 decision in 10 innings to the RedStorm last Monday at Rio Softball Park, slipped to 20-15 as a result of the losses.
Conkey, a sophomore from Minford, Ohio, scattered three singles and a double in the opener, while walking just one over six innings. She allowed a run in the home fourth when Kennedy Arndt led off with a double, Macey Harder walked, a groundout moved both into scoring position and Kayla Ward followed with an RBI single.
By that time, though, the right-hander had been staked to a 4-0 lead after a two-out solo home run by Criner – a freshman from Lancaster, Ohio – in the second inning and a three-run fourth inning thanks to consecutive one-out doubles by junior Tayler Arndt (Clyde, OH) and Conkey and subsequent RBI singles by sophomore Mackenzie Nichols (Columbus, OH) and junior Gabby Gregg (Ashville, OH).
The RedStorm then put the game on ice in the sixth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring five more times.
Nichols, senior Cheyenne Hamaker (Hilliard, OH), Skeese (Newark, OH), Arndt and Conkey all had run-scoring hits in the frame.
Arndt, Conkey, Nichols and Gregg all had two hits in the win.
Kennedy Arndt, the younger sister of Rio’s Tayler Arndt, finished 2-for-3 in the loss for UNOH. Aubrey Brunst started and suffered the setback for the Racers.
Game two was all about Jenkins, a sophomore right-hander from Jackson, Ohio.
In just her third start of the season, Jenkins needed just 68 pitches – 53 of which were strikes – to record her third win in as many decisions. She allowed a pair of doubles, two singles and hit a batter, with only one of the base runners advancing beyond second base.
Jenkins got all of the offensive help she would need on a two-out home run in the first by Skeese, her team-leading seventh long ball of the season.
Rio tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth when Arndt led off with a double and scored on a one-out double by senior Kari Jenkins (Jackson, OH) – who herself scored moments later on a two-out single by Gregg.
The RedStorm’s final run came in the seventh when senior Alex Stevens (Oak Hill, OH) led off with a double, was bunted to third and scored when Arndt’s grounder to third was errored.
Arndt finished 3-for-4 in the victory, while Jenkins had two hits.
Harder and Ward had doubles for UNOH, while Heather Sanderson started and took the loss for the Racers.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.
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