Softball splits final day of USF Tournament
The University of South Florida Tournament came to a close for Central Michigan University’s softball team on Saturday.
CMU began its final day of the tournament with a 6-1 loss to Rutgers University and ended it with a 2-0 win against Yale University to make improve its overall tournament record to 6-6.
“I actually thought we would do a little better than (a 6-6 record),” said Head Coach Margo Jonker. “But overall our defense and pitching has gotten significantly better. We just need to get our offense on board.”
A solo home run in the second inning by junior first baseman Katelyn Rentschler was the lone run for the Chippewas in the loss.
Freshman Hanna Warren got the start in the circle. Receiving the loss, the Canton native threw four innings and gave up four runs on six hits and walked two batters.
Fellow freshman Taylor Weaver finished the game, going two innings while giving up three hits and an earned run.
Despite the rough showing against the Scarlet Knights, CMU turned the corner and put away Yale with relative ease, shutting out the Bulldogs and earning its fourth shutout victory of the tournament in the process.
A single run in the fifth and sixth innings were all the Chippewas needed to put away the Ivy League school.
Senior pitcher Rachael Knapp improved her record to 5-4 on the season by throwing another complete-game. Knapp struck out five and surrendered four hits on the afternoon.
“I think Knapp is pitching really well for us and I’m happy with her performance,” Jonker said. “She’s still working on improving some pitches but she’s done a great job for us.”
Jonker also cited contributions from the team’s freshmen talent as reasons for her team’s success. Moving closer to the conference season, Jonker said they will need to be utilized more as the season presses on.
“Right now they’re no longer underclassmen,” Jonker said. “We told them they’re upperclassmen because they’ve had a lot of experience-they’ve played a lot of games already.”
“We’re going into the Mid-American Conference season with (the freshmen) having experience. Certainly they’ve contributed-we need them to contribute, especially the way things are playing out right now.”
CMU now sits at 8-13 on the season.
The Chippewas will have nine days off before their next matchup against Valparaiso University. It will be a double-header, with game one set to begin at 3 p.m. on March 24.
This will be the women’s last set of games before the MAC season starts on March 27. Jonker said rest will be key for her team as the conference season approaches.
“What we really need between now and Valparaiso is to get some rest for some of our players who have been playing with some nagging injuries,” Jonker said.
“The rest will be great for them.”
On Friday, the women split their two games against Quinnipiac University and Lehigh University respectively.
In their first game of the day, the Chippewas took advantage of three defensive miscues made by the Bobcats to put them away 4-1.
Freshman pitcher Taylor Weaver earned her first win of the season in the circle, throwing a complete-game, while striking out six on five hits and surrendering a single unearned run.
Offensively, freshman catcher Masison Kalina went 2-for-3 with an RBI. She was a part of a second inning that saw CMU score two runs on two hits
Senior shortstop Trista Cox also went 2-for-3 against the Bobcats in the victory.
In the second game of the day, the Chippewas fell to Lehigh by a margin of 3-2.
After falling behind the Mountain Hawks 3-0, CMU scored two runs in the seventh inning on a pinch-hit 2-RBI single to left field by senior Karly Hansen.
This made up an inning that saw the Chippewas leave two runners on base as the game came to a close.
Rachael Knapp started the game in the circle for CMU, going all seven innings and giving up eight hits, while walking two and striking out four.