Photo: File Photo
After beginning the season with two quick wins last Saturday, Drake improved to 4-0 on the season the next day. The team played a doubleheader in the Ramada UNI-Dome Classic, winning games over Green Bay and the University of Texas at El Paso, both by scores of 8-0.
Senior Jenna DeLong took the mound for the Bulldogs in their first game, pitching a five-inning no-hitter, her first no-no as a Bulldog.
“That was a great way to start my season,” DeLong said. “It really was inspiring knowing that that’s how our senior season started off.”
Junior Torey Craddock added a solid bat to DeLong’s strong pitching effort, going 4-for-4 on the day with two runs batted in and five runs scored.
The second game of the day was more of the same for the Bulldogs, beating UTEP after freshman Amy Pierce’s two-run double ended the game in the fifth inning.
“As a whole, our games went really well,” DeLong said. “We could have played a lot better, or we could have played a lot worse, but considering they were our first games of the season they went exceptionally well.”
The Bulldogs have four freshmen on this season’s roster, including Nicole Randel out of Alpine, Calif. Randel finished the weekend going 5-for-7, including a three-run home run in the second game of a twin bill on Saturday against North Dakota.
“I was extremely nervous,” Randel said. “After my first at-bat, I finally started to settle down a little bit. All of the games this weekend were a real team effort.”
Despite the season still being very young, Randel said the Bulldogs’ early success may be attributed to team chemistry.
“The team chemistry this year is awesome,” Randel said. “Everyone gets along really well, everyone is friends, we all hang out all the time.”
DeLong couldn’t agree more with her teammate.
“Team chemistry is better than it has ever been since I’ve been here,” DeLong said. “We just want to win as a team, regardless of who is playing.”
Sunday’s no-hitter by DeLong helped her win the award for Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week, announced on Monday. The award came after the first week of play and might not be the last for DeLong this season, as this was the fourth of her career.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend,” DeLong said. “It’s quite an honor and it makes me excited to see what is to come for this team.”
Drake is back in action tomorrow in Tucson for the Arizona Invitational. The team will play two games Friday, two games Saturday and one game Sunday against Kennesaw State on Friday and Sunday, Texas A&M–Corpus Christi, Pacific and Arizona.
“It would be really nice to go win all five of our games in Arizona,” DeLong said. “This is my last time, and I just want to have fun and enjoy it. It won’t be any fun to go and lose every game, so I want to go and have a good time and play well together as a team.”