MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Haley Gwin cracked home runs in four consecutive at bats, leading the University of Rio Grande softball team to a pair of mercy rule-shortened wins in the opening round of the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic, Monday afternoon, at Grand Park at Market Commons.
The RedStorm started the day with a 10-0 rout of the University of St. Joseph (Conn.) and pounded Lasell (Mass.) College, 14-1, in the nightcap.
Rio Grande improved to 4-6 with the sweep.
Gwin, a native of Troy, Ohio, hit a solo home run to center in her final at bat against USJ and went 3-for-3 with three home runs and six runs batted in against Lasell.
Gwin finished the day 5-for-6 with four home runs, seven RBIs and five runs scored.
The RedStorm also got home runs in the opening game win from senior Kaylee Walk (Unionville Center, OH) and the freshman duo of Kimber Hazlett (Utica, OH) and Kimberly Rollins (Liberty Township, OH). The circuit-clouts by Hazlett and Rollins were the first of their respective collegiate careers.
Hazlett also tossed a one-hit shutout in the opener, walking two and striking out three. Senior Kaitie Stewart (Pleasant Hill, OH) earned her first win in just her third collegiate start inside the circle in game two, allowing four hits, a run, a walk and six strikeouts.
Rio took a 3-0 lead in the second inning of the opening game on a three-run home run to left by Hazlett and extended the advantage to 6-0 in the fourth on a three-run inside-the-park home run by Walk.
Both of Walk’s home runs this season have been of the inside-the-park variety.
The RedStorm invoked the eight-run mercy rule in the fifth when Gwin led off with a home run to make it 7-0, Hazlett doubled to left, freshman Courtney Shriver (Bidwell, OH) followed with a single left and Rollins clubbed a three-run walkoff homer to left-center.
Gwin and Hazlett had two hits each in the win.
Sarah Miller’s one-out single in the second inning was the only hit of the day for the Blue Jays (4-2). Emily Vigue started and took the loss in the pitcher’s circle for USJ.
In game two, Rio Grande sandwiched four-run frames in the first and third innings around a six-run second inning uprising.
Senior Katie Fuller (Hamilton, OH) had a sacrifice fly and Stewart doubled home a run before Gwin hit a two-run home run in the first to make it 4-0.
Sophomore Megan Hayslip (Clarksville, OH) had an RBI double, sophomore Jessi Robinson (Wilmington, OH) doubled home two runs and Fuller singled in a run in the second before Gwin cracked another two-run bomb to give the RedStorm a 10-0 cushion.
Lasell (0-3) avoided a shutout in the home half of the second inning on consecutive two-out singles by Nicole LeBlanc, Erin Larghi and Ashley Pearson, but Rio countered with four more runs in the third.
Robinson had a rare two-run sacrifice fly to center and, after Stewart reached on a two-out error, Gwin concluded her big day with a two-run home run to right to set the final score.
Walk finished 4-for-4 with three runs scored, while Robinson had two hits and four RBIs and Fuller added two hits and two RBIs.
Freshman Ariel Roder (Parma Heights, OH) also contributed a pair of hits to Rio Grande’s 16-hit attack.
Samantha Whynot started and took the loss for Lasell.