Softball stunned by WMU, loses in first round of the MAC Tournament


Sophomore first baseman Erika Underwood hits the ball during the first game of the double header against Ball State on April 29 at Margo Jonker Stadium.

Senior Mid-American Conference pitcher of the year Rachael Knapp cruised through four innings of play against Western Michigan, piling up eight strikeouts against the 13 batters she faced.

All the momentum in the opening round’s game two of the MAC Tournament was going towards the Central Michigan softball team.

Then WMU’s sophomore second baseman Erin Barg made a diving stop at second, and proceeded to throw the runner out at first while still laying down to take a hit away from CMU and end the fourth inning. You could feel the energy it brought WMU.

The proceeded to tie the game the following inning, and then the hero of the day was senior designated player Abby Stoner, who hit a 2-run home run to give WMU a 3-1 lead, and eventually the win.

Knapp got charged with the loss, after somewhat falling apart to end the game, allowing three runs in the final three innings. She Struck out nine batters and allowed three hits. Junior pitcher Anissa Sanchez got the win, allowing one run on five hits.

The Chippewas started off the game doing what they have done to the Broncos all season long — scoring runs.

To open the game for CMU, Sanchez hit junior left fielder Lacy Tolfree with a pitch to put her on, junior designated player Masion Kalina ripped a single up the middle that scored Tolfree from first base, giving CMU the early 1-0 advantage.

Things slowed down quickly for Sanchez though, as she retired the Chippewas in order the next two innings. On the other side, Knapp didn't struggle much the entire game, until the fifth inning.

After allowing her first hit with one out in the fifth, Knapp found herself in a jam after senior catcher Danielle Marlink tried to throw out the base runner at second on a bunt attempt, but her trow arrived late.

Knapp then walked the following batter, loading the bases with just one out, and suddenly found herself in a jam.

Sophomore second baseman Erin Barg singled up the middle and scored a run, to tie the game up at one run apiece. Knapp got a fly out to end the inning, and keep the game tied at 1-1.

Unfortunately for the Chippewas the bleeding didn't stop, as in the top of the sixth inning Stoner unleashed her 2-run bomb, turning the complete feel of the game and gave WMU a 3-1 lead.

CMU had a threat in the final inning with a couple singles, but with runners on second and third and two outs, pinch-hitter junior Sydney Heath grounded into a fielders choice to end the game.

Ball State will be CMU’s next opponent on the losers side of the bracket tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. in Akron. The Chippewas swept Ball State in their three-game series during the regular season.


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