CMU softball struggles, goes 0-5 at the Hillenbrand Invitational

Junior outfielder Abbey Tolmie, left, slides to catch a fly ball as junior infielder Skylar Coberley watches during game three of the MAC softball tournament against Ball State on Friday, May 12 in Oxford, Ohio. Both Tolmie and Coberley went for the ball, but Tolmie called for it and made the catch.

Coming off an opening weekend where Central Michigan softball went 1-4 in Alabama, the Chippewas looked to bounce back. However, facing tough competition in the Hillenbrand Invitational, they fell to Drake University twice, Indiana, Marshall and No. 23 Arizona to go winless in the tournament.

CMU moves to 1-9 overall following its second tournament of the season.  

Game 1

The Chippewas struggled offensively as they went hitless in the first five innings in the opening game of the tournament against Indiana, who cruised to an 8-0 victory. 

The Hoosiers took control early in the game as they put up five runs in the bottom of the second, later putting up three in the fifth to push the game into a run rule. 

Along with the battle at the plate, the Chippewas struggled on the defensive effort, committing three errors which led to six unearned runs given up. 

Senior pitcher Grace Lehto started off the game in the circle, giving up five runs in two innings in the loss.  

Game 2

In game two of the weekend, Central Michigan played the first of two games against Drake where it ended up losing the first game by a score of 5-4 in eight innings on Friday. 

The Chippewas started off the game hot, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first as senior right fielder Michaleigh Vallimont singled with the bases loaded scoring redshirt senior second baseman Skylar Coberley and sophomore Angela Petrovitch to give the Chippewas a quick 3-0 lead. 

Central Michigan tacked on one more run in the bottom of the second as freshman catcher Carly Sleeman doubled to score senior center fielder Abbey Tolmie to extend the lead to four.

Drake answered with one run in the top of the fourth and fifth inning, along with tying the game with two runs in the top of the sixth. 

The teams went scoreless in the seventh, sending the game into extra innings. Drake would get one in the eighth, and Central Michigan couldn’t respond as it lost a heartbreaker in eight, 5-4. 

Junior pitcher Madelyn Wallace got things going for the Chippewas in the circle going three and one third innings pitched, giving up one run on three hits. 

Vallimont went 2-2 at the plate, collecting two RBI’s in the loss. 

Game 3

Day two started off with a rematch against Drake where Central Michigan ended up falling by one run again, 4-3. 

Unlike the last game, Drake captured the early lead in the second inning after a two run home run got the Bulldogs up early. 

Central Michigan responded quickly as Coberley put a ball in play, leading to a throwing error from Drake shortstop. CMU scraped a run across the board, securing its first run of the day. 

Sleeman increased the Chippewas lead with a two-run double the next inning, scoring Tolmie and sophomore first baseman Bryn Elsenpeter to give Central Michigan a 3-2 lead. 

After a few scoreless innings, the Bulldogs got two in the bottom of the seventh to walk off the Chippewas after a throwing error of their own. 

Lehto almost went the full game, allowing four runs in 6.2 innings of work in the circle. 

Sleeman led the way at the place, collecting two RBIs along with going 2-3 at the plate. 

Game 4

The Chippewas again struggled in the night cap of day two, losing to Marshall 4-0. 

The Herd scored first with a run in the first inning. MU extended its lead with a two-run homer and added on another run in the second inning to make the score 4-0. 

The Chippewas had no answers to Marshall's pitching, only getting four hits and remained scoreless in the matchup. 

Wallace got things going on the mound as she went three innings, giving up four runs in the loss. 

Sleeman collected two of the four hits for the Chippewas. 

Game 5

A back and forth affair closed out the Hillenbrand Invitational as the Chippewas faced off against nationally ranked Arizona. The Wildcats took the game in nine innings, 5-4. 

Coberley led off the scoring with a single plating Tolmie. She followed that up by hitting a two run home run in the third, scoring two more runs for CMU. 

However, Arizona came back with one run in the third, fifth, and sixth innings to tie the score at three. 

After a scoreless seventh, the Chippewas and Wildcats headed into extra innings. 

Coberley continued her successful day as she singled in a run in the top of the eighth, giving CMU the slight edge.

Arizona responded with one of its own. After the Chippewas failed to score in the top of the ninth, Arizona went on to score in their half and won the game by the final of 5-4. 

Wallace went 5.1 innings in the circle, giving up three runs in the loss. 

Leading in the offensive effort, Coberley went 3-4 with a home run and four RBIs

The Chippewas will head south for the University of South Florida Tournament coming up on March 1-4, with their first game being on Friday at 1 p.m. against Georgia Southern.