Photo: Connor McCourtney
After beginning the Missouri Valley Conference schedule with five straight wins, Drake split a series with nonconference foe South Dakota State. Last Thursday, Drake was able to take the first game 6-5, but dropped the second game 4-3 to end a seven-game winning streak. The Bulldogs returned to MVC play last weekend, taking both games of a doubleheader against Evansville.
Against the Jackrabbits, junior Torey Craddock erased the bulldog’s 4-2 deficit in the fourth inning of game one with a three-run home run, her fifth of the season. The 1-for-4 effort moved Craddock’s batting average to a team-best .347 on the season.
Senior Brynne Dordel was in the circle for the first game, allowing five runs on seven hits and earning her seventh win of the season.
In the second game, senior Jenna DeLong, junior Jaimie Duffek and Craddock had two hits each, but their efforts were not enough for the Bulldogs, as their seven-game winning streak was snapped with a 4-3 loss.[imagebrowser id=14]
Freshman Jordan Gronewold took the circle for game two, allowing four unearned runs on seven hits in four innings for her first loss of the season and of her college career.
Last Saturday, it was back to MVC play for the Bulldogs as they took on Evansville in a doubleheader. DeLong took the circle in the first game, going the distance for a 6-5 victory. DeLong struck out seven, moving her career total to 650, 20 shy of the Drake all-time record.
Gronewold homered twice in the first game, and DeLong and catcher Erin Mollohan added solo shots of their own. Gronewold went a combined 5-for-6 on the day.
Game two wasn’t as close as the first. Drake only needed five innings to beat the Purple Aces 10-2 in a run limit shortened game. The Bulldogs’ 10 runs tied a season high, which they set on March 5 against Ohio State.
Dordel tallied her eighth win of the season, giving up only two runs on two hits. With six strikeouts on the day, Dordel moved her career mark to 643, just 27 shy of the record.
After going 0-for-3 in the first game, Craddock made up for it with a home run in game two.
Drake tallied 24 hits and seven home runs total in the twin bill. Mollohan had two hits and four RBIs in game two.
The win put the Bulldogs at 20-12 overall on the season and kept their best MVC start in program history going, moving to 7-0 in MVC play. Game three of the Evansville series was Sunday at noon.
Here’s a quick look at how the Bulldogs have risen to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference by winning their first seven league games. Drake is alone in first followed by Illinois State (5-1), Southern Illinois (4-1) and Creighton (4-1). All games included are through Saturday:
March 19 vs. Indiana State, W 2-0
March 19 vs. Indiana State, W 5-4
March 20 vs. Indiana State, W 4-0
March 27 @ Bradley, W 6-1
March 28 @ Bradley, W 3-2
April 2 vs. Evansville, W 6-5
April 2 vs. Evansville, W 10-2 (5 innings)