Softball took care of business Friday and recorded two more Mid-American Conference victories in a doubleheader against Buffalo.
Central Michigan was able to capitalize on the pitching struggles of the Bulls in the first game, taking advantage of walks and passed balls to rally for a six run inning in the second.
Battling in long at-bats to wear them down, the Chippewas forced the Bulls to change through three pitchers and were able to adjust to these changes to stay on top of the ball at the same time.
Going into the bottom of the second, both teams were scoreless until freshman Trista Cox was struck by a pitch and advanced to second on an error. A pitch also hit junior Britteny Horan, and a single from freshman Eve Lorimer loaded the bases.
From there, the game was split wide open starting with senior Macy Merchant’s two RBI single followed by a single from senior Summer Knoop to bring in another run.
A series of walks and wild pitches kept them moving around the bases, ending the inning with six runs from only three hits.
Senior Kara Dornbos was in the circle for all seven innings, giving up five hits and striking out three. Buffalo’s Heather Ryder hit the lone run of the night on a home run to deep left field, but the defense was able to keep the bases clean thanks to a strong effort by sophomore CarolAnn Sexauer.
“Earlier in the week she struggled a bit against Detroit,” said head coach Margo Jonker. “But she’s a great player and her heart is always there.”
With a spectacular throw from center, Merchant threw out a runner at home to keep the Bulls down in the sixth, ending the game 7-1. Merchant also led CMU in hitting with two RBI on three hits.
In the second game, Buffalo played stronger defense and eliminated some of the pitching errors that plagued it earlier.
However, junior pitcher Chelsea Sundberg was keeping the Bulls scoreless until the final inning. She allowed four hits and only one run to get her sixth win of the season, 6-1.
“I thought both Kara [Dornbos] and Chelsea [Sundberg] had good games,” Jonker said. “Any time they have good games it’s because Cory [DeLamielleure] is behind the plate, she does a great job back there, so it was a combination of the two.”
The Chippewas were aggressive on the base paths under the expert direction of the experienced Jonker who pulled off a double steal with DeLammielleure and Merchant to score the first run of the game.
CMU was still hot at the plate, with 11 hits. Knoop and Horan led with two hits apiece. Cox had one RBI on the night from a double to right-center, and Horan recorded two RBI from a single and a fifth inning triple.
Saturday, the Chippewas face off against conference rival Kent State in what will prove to be a more difficult series.
“Tomorrow it’s going to be big that we get hits,” Jonker said. “Their number one pitcher has an excellent ERA so we need to get on her right away.”