By Langdon Barnes
The Eastern Kentucky University women’s softball team was unable to win another series, losing two of three games to Eastern Illinois over the weekend.The Colonels fell in the first game 4-3 but won the second 7-0.
“Our team is playing a lot more relaxed and look a lot more comfortable out there,” Shyenne Hussey said. “We are getting better each and every day so I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Eastern Illinois scored first in the first game. Melinda Jackson singled in the bottom of the second to drive in one run. In the second inning, Hailee Hanna drove in two runs extending the lead to 3-0.
Jena Handley was able to drive in Eastern’s first run on a double in the top of the fourth.
The Colonels let a golden opportunity slip away in the fifth. They had runners at the corners and no outs but were still unable to drive anyone in.
Freshman Nikki Bruce tied the game in the sixth with a two-out, two-run home run, her first in her career, tying the game at 3.
The Panthers got the lead back in the bottom of the inning on a single through the left side.
Jackson finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs for Eastern Illinois. Three different Eastern players accounted for the three total hits.
The second game went in the Colonels favor early and they never looked back.
Eastern scored five runs in the second inning with two outs.
Cassi Gibson drove in the first run with a single. Diane Gallagher followed with a triple that drove in two runs. Samm Daniels was able to drive in Gallagher for the Colonels third straight hit. Handley capped the scoring with a RBI to put Eastern up 5-0.
The Colonels added two more runs in the forth to ensure the victory. Melissa Costa was responsible for one of those runs with a RBI. Costa and Gallagher both had two hits each. Gallagher also had a run and two RBIs. Daniels finished 2-for-4 and scored twice. Gibson added two hits as well.
“We need to continue to take it one game at a time,” said Handley.
Freshman pitcher Kristin Perry (5-11) tossed complete game, three-hit shutout. She walked three batters while striking out six.
“She is such a strong pitcher,” said DeAnn Horswill. “She keeps us in the game.”
The third game was much closer and went into extra innings. Eastern tied the game 1-1 in the seventh inning, but the Panthers scored in the bottom of the ninth to win 2-1.
Diane Gallagher hit a fly ball in the seventh that was dropped which allowed Aimee Spathias to score and tie the game 1-1. Perry was able to retire the Panthers in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.
With the bases loaded, Jen Saucier drew a third straight walk to score the winning run in the ninth.
Perry (5-12) pitched eight and a third innings, allowing five hits and two runs. She walked five batters while striking out seven. Eastern Illinois pitcher Amber May tossed all nine innings, allowing one run on eight hits. She walked one batter while striking out 10.
Raquel Howes had three hits for the Colonels (12-27, 6-7 OVC).
“Every game counts and is very valuable,” said Hussey. “In our conference one game can if you can make it to the tournament or not so every win is huge.