Photo: File photo
After Drake finished the Bayer Crop Science Classic with two wins and three losses, they responded with five wins and one loss last week. The Bulldogs’ overall record is now 15-11, and the team has opened up MVC play at 3-0.
Drake lost to Pacific before it took down St. Mary’s College and Northern Illinois, then won three straight against Missouri Valley Conference rival Indiana State last weekend.
“Being on a five-game win streak is a new feeling for sure,” senior Jenna DeLong said. “It feels great to get off to such a good start right out of the shoot in conference play.”
DeLong took the circle in the first match-up against Indiana State, winning 2-0 and moving her record to 8-4 on the season. Brynne Dordel started the second game, but it was DeLong giving her the early lead with a first inning solo home run. In the middle of the fourth, Indiana State held the lead at 3-1 thanks to two home runs, but didn’t keep the lead for long. Freshman Jordan Gronewold hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth, and Drake went on to win 5-4.
“It’s a team sport, and we are really starting to play like it,” DeLong said. “Every play contributes to our wins.”
Drake took on Indiana State for the third time in two days on Sunday, coming out with another victory over the Sycamores. DeLong moved to 9-4 on the season in the circle and hit yet another lead-off home run, her sixth of the season. DeLong shut out the Sycamore offense and allowed only two hits, and she received help on the offensive side with two hits from junior Torey Craddock and one from senior Erin Mollohan.
The Bulldogs started the MVC season at 3-0 for the first time under head coach Rich Calvert and are tied for first with Southern Illinois (3-0) and Illinois State (2-0). With such a long conference season for softball, getting out to an undefeated start is crucial for Drake, as every win brings it closer to its season goal.
“Our focus is one game at a time, and we can’t focus on past success or failure,” DeLong said. “It’s important we focus on the game at hand and forget about the rest, otherwise, we might end up losing sight of what we are trying to achieve, which is an MVC title.”
The Bulldogs will continue MVC play this weekend, traveling to Peoria, Ill., to face the Bradley Braves this Saturday and Sunday. Bradley is 0-2 in the Missouri Valley and is ninth in the conference.
2011 Season Stats
1. Jenna DeLong, .355
2. Sam West, .315
2. Molly McClelland, .315
1. DeLong, 6
2. Torey Craddock, 4
3. Erin Mollohan, 3
Runs Batted In
1. DeLong, 18
2. Mollohan, 16
3. Craddock, 15
Compiled by Matt Moran