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Drake opens season on sour note at Rosemont Rumble

Story by Austin Cannon

File Photo

softball_file-w2000-h2000The Drake softball team traveled to Chicago for the Rosemont Rumble on Friday and Saturday. The Bulldogs went 0-4 in their opening games of the season.

On Friday, the offense failed to produce as Drake dropped a pair of one-run games to IUPUI and Central Michigan by scores of 3-2 and 1-0, respectively.

The next day, the Bulldogs fell again to CMU 6-0 and lost to Western Illinois, 10-4.

“We definitely didn’t perform the way we can,” said junior pitcher Rebekah Schmidt.

Senior shortstop Amy Pierce belted a leadoff home run off IUPUI’s Cassie Vodde to give the Bulldogs a promising start.  Pierce knocked in another run in the second with a double, scoring Liz Buck.

The Bulldogs got their final run that inning from Sarah Ryan’s RBI groundout.

Junior Jordan Gronewold started for Drake. She ran into trouble in the bottom of the second, giving up two runs, and was replaced in favor of sophomore Mariah McKinnon.

McKinnon didn’t last long. She only managed to record one out while permitting two more Jaguar runs.

Schmidt pitched the final three and two-thirds innings for Drake and kept IUPUI from adding to its lead.

Unfortunately for Drake, the bats went quiet and failed to bring home the tying run. In the top of the seventh, Gronewald grounded out to short with runners on first and second to end the game.

Vodde went the distance for the Jaguars, striking out three while only walking two.

Schmidt permitted two hits and struck out four in relief. McKinnon was given the loss.

The lack of offense bled into the second game, Friday.

CMU’s Chelsea Sunberg put on a clinic, throwing seven shutout innings, giving up only three hits and striking out six Bulldogs.

Schmidt was almost as impressive, allowing only three hits in six innings. One of those three, however, was Trista Cox’s solo dinger in the second that proved to be the difference.

Drake woke up Saturday morning to face the same CMU team it had seen the day before. The result was similar, too.

Chippewa junior Morgan Yunker tossed seven shutout frames, facing only 24 Drake hitters and giving up only four hits.

Schmidt, whose record fell to 0-2, surrendered two runs in the second. McKinnon took over in the bottom of the fifth. She gave up one run in the sixth and three more in the seventh.

Drake finally managed to put some runs on the board in the second game Saturday, but it was not enough to keep up with Western Illinois.

A four-run second inning gave the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead, but WIU scored six unanswered runs to take the easy victory.

Gronewold gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits in one and two-thirds, and Schmidt was tagged for six runs, five earned, in four and a third innings.

It was by no means a defensive showcase, as the Bulldogs and Leathernecks combined for six errors.

Freshman Megan Sowa led the Drake offense. She went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a run scored.

Senior Cortney Wood thought the tough first four games would help the Bulldogs grow.

“It definitely is going to help us in the long run because we know we have kinks to work out. We know that we need to get better, and I think that we’re going to be stronger because of it,” Wood said.

Drake travels to Waco, Texas, to play five games in the Getterman Classic this weekend.

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