CMU softball splits double-header versus Ohio to win season series

Junior outfielder Michaleigh Vallimont leads off second base during a game against Kent State Tuesday, March 28 at Margo Jonker Stadium. Vallimont had three hits on the day.

Central Michigan softball went into Saturday looking to win the season series against Ohio after defeating them in game one on Friday. Redshirt senior pitcher Kaitlyn Bean pitched a shutout in game one to help lead the team to a 5-0 victory and secure the series against the Bobcats. 

However, CMU was unable to complete the sweep as it fell in the second game of the double-header on Saturday, 5-2. 

The Chippewas (16-18, 6-5) have now won three-straight series after opening Mid-American Conference play by being swept by Ball State. 

“Our goal is to attempt to win every series,” head coach McCall Salmon said. “So, getting this third one in a row, I think just continues to help our mindset as far as growth and momentum. Like I told the team afterwards, you know, Toledo is on the clock, so our focus shifts to them.” 

Redshirt senior Kaitlyn Bean (6-6) got the win in the circle with a shutout to secure the Chippewas second shutout of the series. In seven innings pitched, she allowed six hits on no runs with two strikeouts and one walk. 

Junior Grace Lehto received the loss in the circle in game three of the series, pitching seven innings and allowing five runs (two ER) with five strikeouts and no walks. 

Both starting pitchers were able to record a shutout in the series with Lehto only allowing one hit in the series opener. 

“They're going to be key for us going down the stretch, but just to see them get two quality starts is always exciting and you know, (I) look forward to what they do in the midweek,” Salmon said. 

Senior Kelsey Alexander led at the plate in the series versus the Bobcats, securing a multi-hit game in every matchup of the series. Coming out of the three spot in the lineup, Alexander went 6-for-11 (.545) with two doubles, three runs scored and one RBI. 

Game 1 

Led by a shutout performance from Bean, the Chippewas defeated Ohio, 5-0 in game one of the double-header to secure the season series. 

Similar to the first game of the series, the Chippewas were able to take an early lead when junior Michaleigh Vallimont hit a 2-RBI double to right center to score junior Abbey Tolmie and redshirt senior Samantha Mills to take a 2-0 lead. CMU continued the momentum in the next at bat when Alexander hit a shot to shortstop for an infield single that scored Vallimont to add one more in the inning, 3-0. 

The Chippewas added pressure again in the bottom of the fourth when junior Lucy Cronin and senior Emily Bracamonte both secured base hits. Later in the inning, pinch runner freshman Cierra Laska scored on a wild pitch to go up 4-0. 

Following a base hit from Alexander and an error from the Bobcats to begin the fifth, Cronin hit an RBI single to score sophomore Allyssa Hollo and push the lead to five. 

In the top of the sixth, Ohio was threatening to get its first run of the series when they loaded the bases following an error, walk and base hit. However, the Bobcats flew out to left field to keep Ohio scoreless. 

Bean held the Bobcats in the top of the seventh to secure the win for the Chippewas. 

Cronin went 2-for-3 at the plate, securing two singles and one RBI in the win. Alexander also had the multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with two singles and an RBI. 

Game 2

CMU was unable to complete the series sweep in game three of the series as Ohio found rhythm at the plate to win 5-2. 

For the first time all weekend, the Chippewas found themselves trailing 1-0 following the Bobcats scoring on an error in the first inning to give them their first run of the series. 

However, CMU responded in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff walk to Vallimont and a double from Alexander to put two runners in scoring position. Redshirt junior Skylar Coberley was able to hit them home on a 2-RBI single to put the Chippewas ahead, 2-1.

In the top of the third, Ohio’s Yasmine Logan hit a solo shot to center field to tie the game at two. 

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Bobcats broke the tie in the top of the fifth following a first and third situation that scored a run to put them up 3-2. 

The Bobcats extended their lead in the top of the seventh with a two-run single following an error from the Chippewas to give them the 5-2 lead. 

With one final chance in the bottom of the seventh, Bracamonte got things going with a leadoff single followed by a walk to Vallimont and a single from Alexander to load the bases. However, with two outs, CMU couldn’t respond, dropping game two, 5-2. 

The Chippewas will be on the road for the next series when they travel to Toledo, Ohio, to face off against Toledo in a three-game series with game one on Tuesday at 3 p.m. 

“Winning in the last three series against some teams that are sitting closer, mid top of the MAC, I think that's important,” Salmon said. “But, you know, it doesn't matter who you play. It's what we bring and how we compete, and, you know, we'll just look to go get number five.”