MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The University of Rio Grande softball team got back on the winning track Saturday afternoon, cruising to a pair of mercy rule-shortened wins in the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic at the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex.
The RedStorm cruised to a 9-1 victory in six innings against Ferrum (Va.) College before posting an 11-3 triumph in five innings against Waynesburg (Pa.) University.
Rio Grande pushed its overall record to 6-12 with the wins.
In Saturday’s opener against previously unbeaten Ferrum, the 14th-ranked team in NCAA Division III, the RedStorm scored four times in the second inning and twice in both the fourth and fifth frames to fuel its rout.
Junior Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) had a two-run single in the four-run second inning, while sophomore Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) had a two-run single of her own in the fourth inning and the fifth inning markers crossed on a groundout by senior Brooke Hoffman (Columbus Grove, OH) and an RBI single by Slutz.
Slutz finished 3-for-3 in the win, while junior Morgan Santos (Dayton, OH) had two hits and sophomore Lexi Hart (Johnstown, OH) added a double.
Junior Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) earned the victory in the circle, scattering six hits and allowing an unearned run in a complete game effort. She walked one and struck out five.
Ashton Lambeth went the distance in the loss for Ferrum (9-1), allowing 12 hits. Only three of the nine runs were earned as a result of three errors by the Panthers.
Lambeth had two of her team’s three hits, while Bayley Cunningham drove in the team’s lone run.
In the nightcap against Waynesburg, another NCAA Division III program, Rio Grande rallied from a 3-1 third inning deficit by scoring 10 unanswered runs.
The RedStorm parlayed a first inning error by the Yellow Jackets into an early lead, but a bases-clearing three-run double by Kayla Alderson in the top of third gave Waynesburg the lead.
Rio started the road back with a run-scoring single by Santos in the bottom of the third before taking the lead for good with four runs in the fourth inning.
Sophomore Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) and senior Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH) had run-scoring doubles in the inning, while Slutz and freshman Chase Arndt (Clyde, OH) added run-scoring singles.
The RedStorm invoked the mercy rule by adding five more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Slutz and Webb both had two-run singles in the rally, while Philen also had an RBI single.
Schmitt and Philen led Rio’s 15-hit attack with three each, while Webb, Arndt and Slutz all finished with two hits and freshman Emily Crossen (Ashland, OH) added a double to the winning effort.
Sophomore Viv Capozella (Dover, OH) picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle, allowing six hits and striking out three in a complete game performance.
Kaylee Stewart started and took the loss for Waynesburg.
Hannah Batovsky and Brin Hunter had two hits each for the Yellow Jackets.
Rio Grande will enjoy an off day on Sunday before returning to action on Monday.
The RedStorm will face Lincoln (Ill.) College at 1:30 p.m. before tangling with the University of Pikeville (Ky.) at 5:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.