Photo: Connor McCourtney
After splitting a doubleheader with the Wichita State Shockers last Saturday, Drake had an opportunity for revenge the next day. The Bulldogs took full advantage of the rubber match on Sunday, beating the Shockers 6-0. On Tuesday, Drake dropped a heartbreaker to Iowa State 2-1 in 10 innings.
Senior Jenna DeLong took the circle for the Bulldogs on Sunday, tossing a complete game and holding a no-hitter through five innings. The win moved DeLong’s season total to 13 and the Bulldogs’ Missouri Valley Conference record to 10-1. DeLong also registered eight strikeouts, moving her career total to 668, which is two shy of the all-time Drake record.
The Bulldogs jumped out to take the lead in the third inning, thanks to a grand slam by junior Torey Craddock to score junior Jaimie Duffek, DeLong and freshman Amy Pierce. After the grand slam, the Bulldogs never looked back. Drake ended the inning with a 5-0 lead after senior Molly McClelland hit a solo home run two batters after Craddock. Drake tallied their sixth and final run in the fourth inning when sophomore Sam West scored on an error.
“I think we did a great job refocusing and getting the win on Sunday,” Craddock said. “We feel really good about being in first place in the MVC right now, but we are not satisfied.”
The Bulldogs followed up their win on Sunday with a nonconference match up on Tuesday against Iowa State at Buel Field. Similar to the first game against Wichita State last Saturday, Pierce came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh in a 1-1 tie with the bases loaded and two outs, but was unable to convert, flying out to center and sending the game to extra innings.
“It’s definitely a bummer that we lost,” Pierce said, “but we feel it’s OK because we played well. It was a close game.”
Senior Brynne Dordel was in the circle for the game, going 5.1 innings and garnering a no-decision.
Iowa State was finally able to score on an error in the 10th inning to go up 2-1, and Drake was unable to answer in the bottom half.
“We need to have a lot of determination and focus to have another great winning streak,” Pierce said.
The Bulldog bats were weaker than usual, racking up only six hits against the Cyclones. Iowa State pitcher Rachel Zabriskie went the distance, with four walks and eight strikeouts.
The Bulldogs have another shot at the Cyclones, traveling to Ames this afternoon for a 4 p.m. rematch.
“We know we have a tough schedule ahead and need to remain focused,” Craddock said.
The Bulldogs jump back into MVC play on Saturday and Sunday, taking on Northern Iowa at Buel Field at noon both days.
“I feel good about us in the MVC right now,” Pierce said. “We still have tough teams to play, but if we play like we can, we have a good chance to win.”
Drake sits atop the MVC standings. Illinois State trails at 9-2.