Jennies softball splits a pair of games in season opener

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(ARKADELPHIA, Ark.) — The Jennies softball team opened the 2014 season with a 1-1 record, splitting a doubleheader with Henderson State (4-3 loss) and Arkansas-Monticello (7-3 win) in Arkadelphia, Ark. on Friday afternoon.
In game one against Henderson State, the Jennies spotted themselves a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a single by Alex Groeger that scored Ali Jo Rogers, reached on a one-out single.
UCM maintained that lead through the top of the sixth inning and added two more runs for starting pitcher Katie Shockley. Groeger was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to third on a double by Jakki Prater. It was the last batter Henderson State’s starting pitcher, Cagen Medlock faced, as she was pulled in favor of Hannah Bender with one out in the inning.
The ensuing batter, Madison Hood, plated Groeger on a sacrifice fly with Prater moving to third. Emily King followed with a double to right centerfield, plating Prater to push the Jennies lead to 3-0.
Henderson State responded with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead for good. Ashlyn White led off the inning with a homerun to right to push the first run across for the Reddies. Kailey Johnson singled, knocking Shockley out of the game.
Shockley’s replacement, Jessica Wilkes was a victim of two-straight errors, one by the first baseman and the other by the third baseman.  With runners on the corners and no outs, Keirsten Seahorn hit a sacrifice fly, plating the second run and moving Morgan South to second.
The next batter, Alicia Zack tied the game at 3-3 on a double that scored South.
During the next at-bat, Zack advanced to third on a wild pitch and would later score the go-ahead run on a bunt single from Williams, making it 4-3 in favor of Henderson State.
UCM had an opportunity to regain the lead in the top of the seventh with Braylyn Bivens on third and Rogers on second with two outs, but Bivens was thrown out, 1-4-2 to end the game.
Wilkes (0-1) was tagged with the loss, throwing an inning and yielding two runs (one earned) on two hits. Shockley started and went five innings and allowed two runs, seven hits, while walking a pair and striking out two.
In the second game of the twin bill, the Jennies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Bivens was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. She swiped second and third and eventually scored on a wild pitch during Rogers’ at-bat.
A solo homerun by Prater pushed the second Jennies’ run across. Lauren Mabe followed with a two-out double to right that plated King, who reached base on a throwing error by the third baseman.
The Jennies earned a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth thanks to a fielding error that scored Rogers and an RBI double by King.
Arkansas-Monticello got three of those runs back in the bottom of the sixth, but the Jennies got out of the inning, protecting a 5-3 lead.
Prater connected on her second homerun of the game in the top of the seventh, giving UCM a 7-3 lead and securing their first win of the 2014 campaign. The junior finished the day going 3-for-7 with two homeruns, three RBI’s and three runs scored. She also earned the win in the second game, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits, striking out one and walking a pair.
Shockley finished the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing a hit, walking two and fanning three batters.
The Jennies will next play Arkansas Tech tomorrow at 11 a.m.
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