Softball drops doubleheader against Ashland

The Northern Kentucky University Softball team lost 6-2 in game one of its doubleheader against Ashland University (14-6) on March 26 at Frank Ignatius Grein Softball Field.

The Norse, who entered the game as No. 8 in the NCAA Division II regional rankings had hoped to upset Ashland, who currently owns the No. 5 spot in the ranks.
The starting pitcher for both clubs escaped early trouble as neither gave up a run through the first four innings.
Ashland’s designated player, senior Shannon Gray hit a two-run double off of the Norse starting pitcher, sophomore April Ehlers, in the top of the fifth to give the Eagles a two-run lead.
NKU (13-12) quickly answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, stemming from a single off the bat of junior outfielder Stephanie West.’ West scored when freshman shortstop Jessica Farris clubbed a double over the head of the Eagles left fielder.’ Senior first baseman Amanda Smith followed with a single to knock in Farris to tie the game.
Heading into the top of the seventh inning, the Norse and the Eagles were locked in a 2-2 battle.
However, with one out and a runner on, the Eagles senior catcher Erin Porter drilled a two-run home run to take a 4-2 lead.’ Following the two-run blast, freshman shortstop Brianna Woody drew a walk and then junior pitcher Samantha Hendrix connected for a two-run homer over the left field wall to extend the lead to 6-2.
NKU could not muster a last minute rally, as the final score held at 6-2 in favor of Ashland.
‘We could have played a lot better tonight (March 26),’ senior third baseman Cara Parker said.’ ‘Offensively we needed to get our bats going at the beginning of the game and not at the end.’

Game two of the doubleheader resulted in a 5-4 loss; as it only lasted six innings do to the impending darkness that compromised the safety of the players.
Norse sophomore pitcher Chelsie Roy made quick work of the Ashland hitters in the first, retiring three of the four batters she faced.
With one out in the bottom of the first, Farris crushed a line drive over the center fielders head for a two bagger.’ A single by Smith moved Farris over to third.’ Parker hit into a fielder’s choice to bring Farris home to give NKU a 1-0 lead.
Junior catcher Sam Del Vecchio ripped a double down the right field line to lead off the second inning for the Norse.’ Roy entered as the pinch runner for Del Vecchio and later scored on an Eagle throwing error put NKU up by two runs.
The Ashland bats came alive in the third and fourth innings as they splashed seven hits around the field in which five runs crossed the plate, giving the Eagles a 5-2 lead.
The Norse struck for two runs in the bottom of the fifth as Smith and Parker both singled and was knocked in by a Del Vecchio single to cut the Ashland lead to one run.
With darkness approaching and a one run deficit the Norse plated just three batters in the bottom of the sixth and all resulted in outs to end the game.

‘We didn’t do all of the things that we needed to do to win,’ NKU Head Coach Kathy Stewart said.’ ‘In the first game, we had two situations where we had bases loaded and needed a big hit and we didn’t get it and in the second game, they had runners on first and third and we didn’t defend it correctly and they ended up scoring a run.’