Walk off grand slam by Alexander leads CMU softball to a series sweep versus WMU
Senior left fielder Kelsey Alexander came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs as Central Michigan softball had the slim 3-2 lead over Western Michigan. With a 3-2 count, Alexander delivered with a 2-RBI double to give the Chippewas the 5-2 advantage.
In the next inning, Alexander found herself in the exact same situation with bases loaded, two outs and a 3-2 count and came in clutch again with a grand slam to give the Chippewas the run rule victory 11-2 and the series sweep over the Broncos on Sunday.
“Kelsey, in general, is always just a gritty player,” head coach McCall Salmon said. “(She) wants to make adjustments at bat to at bat. And (she) struggled a little bit in our last series, but just her staying committed to the process, taking it one pitch and one at bat at a time. People that put things into the game, the game gives it back to them. And you could really see that in Kelsey’s performance today. I mean, two 3-2 counts that she was able to produce and put some runs on the board for us, so very proud of her.”
With the sweep, CMU moves to 21-19 overall and 11-6 in Mid-American Conference play.
“Every game is important,” Salmon said. “Not only winning the series, but completely taking all three, that's what's going to continue to elevate us in this conference … I'm very proud of their performance this weekend and keep defending our home turf. And, you know, it's a grind every game and I was happy to see us come up on top all three games.”
Alexander ended the game, going 2-for-3, securing her second grand slam of the year along with seven RBIs, which set a CMU record for most RBIs in a game.
In the final game of the series, junior pitcher Grace Lehto (9-10) got the win to secure her third-straight victory in the circle. In six innings pitched, Lehto gave up two runs on two hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
Junior center fielder Abbey Tolmie got things going for the Chippewas with a lead-off single in the bottom of the first. Following right behind her was junior Michaleigh Vallimont who hit a shot to left center for a double to score Tolmie and get the first run of the day. Following a single from sophomore Allyssa Hollo that put two runners on, Alexander laid down a sacrifice bunt to score one more run.
The Broncos matched CMU’s run total in the top of the second when WMU’s Alyssa Kramer hit a two-run home run to tie the game at two. However, Lehto got the strikeout in the next at bat to end the threat.
Both teams were held scoreless for 3.5 innings until the Chippewas broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore Maddie Springer bunted towards third base which resulted in a throwing error from the Broncos to score senior Emily Bracamonte, who reached earlier on a walk. With two outs and bases loaded, Alexander delivered with 2-RBI double to take a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tolmie hit an infield single and an error on the throw to first base scored Bracamonte to give CMU the 6-2 lead.
In the series, Tolmie had two multi-hit games, going 5-for-10 (.500) through the three games series coming out of the leadoff spot for the Chippewas.
“That’s why she’s there (at the leadoff),” Salmon said. “Most consistent player on the team. (She’s) always giving us an opportunity to lead off an inning or, you know, advance batters, wherever they're at. So, you know, she's a workhorse, and happy she's a Chippewa.”
Following a single from Vallimont, redshirt junior Skylar Coberley hit a double to score Tolmie. Alexander came in clutch with a grand slam with two outs to give CMU its fifth-straight victory and secure the sweep.
The Chippewas will look to continue the momentum as they head out on the road to face off against Buffalo in a three-game series starting on Friday at 3 p.m.