LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — The University of Rio Grande softball team rallied twice but came up short in their attempts to bounce back from early deficits on Saturday, dropping a pair of one-run decisions in the Grizzly Open at Grizzly Softball Complex.
The RedStorm opened the day with a 3-2 loss to the University of the Cumberlands and ended with a 6-5 loss to fifth-ranked Georgia Gwinnett College, sending head coach Chris Hammond’s squad to 1-3 on the season.
In the opener against Cumberlands, Rio trailed 2-0 after one inning before tying the contest with single markers in the third and fourth innings. Senior Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH) drove in the third inning marker with a fielder’s choice and sophomore Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) plated the fourth inning run with an RBI single.
The Patriots scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the fifth when Hailey Wood reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on another infield hit by Emily Jasper.
UC pitcher Kaitlin White retired the side in order in both the sixth and seventh innings to nail down the victory.
White allowed six hits and a walk while fanning three in a complete game effort.
Junior Raelynn Hastings (Commerical Point, OH) was the hard-luck loser for Rio Grande, allowing seven hits and the three runs — two earned — over six innings. She walked one and struck out four.
Schmitt finished with two hits in the loss for the RedStorm.
Wood and Jasper had two hits each for the Patriots.
Against the host Grizzlies in Saturday’s finale, Rio Grande found itself down 5-0 after three innings.
The RedStorm scored four times in the fifth to make it a one-run game, but Gwinnett scored once in the sixth to take a 6-4 cushion into the final inning.
Rio parlayed three straight hits into a run and had runners at both second and third base with no outs, but GGC reliever Alexa Good routinely retired each of the next three batters to nail down the win.
Philen had three hits, including a double, and drove in two runs for the RedStorm, while senior Brooke Hoffman (Columbus Grove, OH) also had three hits, including a double, to go along with a run batted in.
Freshman Chase Arndt (Clyde, OH) added a pair of doubles and an RBI in a losing cause, while sophomore Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run batted in.
Sophomore Viv Capozella (Dover, OH) suffered the loss in a route-going performance, allowing 13 hits and six runs over six innings.
RaeQuinn Rossetti had two hits and two RBI to lead Gwinnett, while Kendall Baer and Lea McFadden each had two hits and a run batted in. Ruth Jones added a double and an RBI in the winning effort.
Piper Wagner allowed 10 hits and four runs over six innings to get the win for the Grizzlies, while Good earned a save.
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action this weekend at the Bear Creek Classic at the Bear Creek Sports Complex in Oneida, Tenn.
The RedStorm will face Taylor (Ind.) University and Lawrence Tech (Mich.) at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, on Friday, before squaring off with Grace (Ind.) and Thomas More (Ky.) and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively, on Saturday.
The three-day round-robin event will wrap up on Sunday with another game against Thomas More at noon and a meeting with the host University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) at 2 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.