KENNEDY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — They didn’t come with style points, but given how difficult the process was for his team to nail down its two wins on Friday, University of Rio Grande head softball coach Chris Hammond wasn’t about to give them back.
The RedStorm survived an early morning road trip to greater Pittsburgh, a nearly 2-1/2-hour rain delay, a late game collapse which forced extra innings in the opener and an early deficit in the nightcap to post a sweep of Carlow University in River States Conference action at Lind Field.
Rio Grande reached the 40-win mark for the third time in its last five full seasons with an 11-7 nine-inning victory in game one and a 6-4 triumph in the nightcap.
The RedStorm finished the day at 40-13 overall and 21-3 in the RSC.
Carlow slipped to 11-21-1 overall and 9-11 in league play as a result of the sweep.
Rio Grande scored in each of its first four at bats in game one and took a 6-0 lead into the home half of the seventh inning before the Celtics parlayed six hits — four of which never left in the infield — a walk and an error into a game-tying six-run rally.
The RedStorm regained the lead in the eighth on an RBI single by junior Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH), but Carlow’s McKenna Lampe knotted the score again in bottom of the frame with a one-out solo homer.
Rio finally settled the issue once and for all by scoring four times in the ninth inning, including three on a home run by freshman Caitlyn Brisker (Oak Hill, OH).
Brisker, who also had a double, finished 4-for-5 with four runs scored and three RBI, while senior Morgan Santos (Dayton, OH) also went 4-for-5 in helping the RedStorm to a season-high 21 hits.
Junior Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI, while Webb had three hits — including a home run — and two runs batted in. Senior Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) and freshman Cierra Clark (Plain City, OH) had two hits each.
Freshman Sydney Campolo (New Lexington, OH) earned the win in relief, allowing three hits and a run over three innings.
Morgan Pierce started and lost for Carlow, allowing 20 hits and all 11 runs over 8-1/3 innings.
Lampe had three hits and two RBI for the Celtics, while Alysa Fairman went 3-for-5 with a run batted in and Adrianna Gottheld finished 3-for-4.
Morgan Nedley and Alexandrea Bupp drove in two runs each in a losing cause, while Hannah Gallagher added a double.
In the nightcap, Carlow built a 4-0 lead after three innings before the RedStorm rallied for two runs in the fifth and four runs in the sixth to post a come-from-behind win.
One of the fifth inning runs scored on an error and the other crossed on a single by Cremeens, while Brisker, Webb and Cremeens all had run-scoring hits in the sixth.
While the Rio offense was in rally mode, freshman pitcher Caity Moody (Xenia, OH) held the Celtics in check after taking over for Campolo in the third inning.
Moody allowed four hits and two runs over five innings for her second win in as many decisions.
Cremeens and freshman Lexi Carnahan (Felicity, OH) had three hits each in the victory, while Brisker had two hits and junior Zoe Doll (Minford, OH) added a double.
Clara Niglio started and lost for Carlow, allowing 12 hits and all six runs — only three of which were earned as a result of four errors — over 6-2/3 innings. She walked two and fanned six.
Ciara Murray went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI for the Celtics, while Madison Lampe went 2-for-4 with a run batted in and Fairman added a double.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.