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Drake beats Arkansas, wins Woo Pig Fastpitch Classic

Story by Austin Cannon

File Photo

softball1file-w2000-h2000The Drake softball team took down No. 24 Arkansas Saturday, 7-4, to capture the Woo Pig Fastpitch Classic title in Fayetteville, Ark.

With Arkansas up 4-1, freshman Kaitlin Finneran hit her first career dinger, a two-run shot, to cut the Razorback lead to one in the third inning.

Junior Hayley Nybo then tied the game at with a solo shot.

In the sixth, the Bulldogs took advantage of three errors. They scored one run on a throwing error, and Laura Brewer scored on a fielder’s choice from Liz Buck.

Brewer also drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, bringing in Chelsea Blaylock as an insurance run.

Jordan Gronewold got the start for Drake. She threw two-and-a-third innings, surrendering four runs, three of which came on Jennifer Rambo’s second inning three-run blast.

Junior Rebekah Schmidt threw four and two-thirds innings of shutout ball to get the win and improve her record to 4-7.

“It was just really fun to be out there and see everything come together,” Schmidt said.

The win in the championship proved to be redemption for Drake’s 10-6 loss to the Razorbacks on Friday.

“It was kind of redeeming. It was nice. I don’t think we’ve ever been here since I’ve been here,” Buck said.

In the first game of the tournament, Drake scored two runs in the final inning to squeak by Louisiana Tech, 3-2.

The runs came via two bases-loaded walks.

Louisiana Tech pitcher Anna Cross, who was brought in to close, loaded the bases.

She then walked Liz Buck, bringing in pinch runner Maddie Hooyman.

Cross once again couldn’t find the narrow zone as she walked Amy Pierce, bringing in Schmidt to win the game.

“The umpire was really tight. It wasn’t even just at the end that he tightened the zone, it really was throughout the whole game,” Schmidt said. “It was pretty fair.”

Gronewold started, giving up two runs, one earned, in three innings. Schmidt relieved her, throwing four shutout innings, only giving up one hit.

In their first game Saturday, the Bulldogs blanked Stephen F. Austin, 8-0.

Drake collected 12 hits and finished off the Ladyjacks in six innings.

“I think once one person starts hitting, the next person starts hitting and everyone’s hitting. It’s contagious,” Nybo said.

Sophomore Mariah McKinnon and Rebekah Schmidt combined for the shutout, McKinnon threw three-and-a-third and Schmidt threw the final two-and-two-thirds. McKinnon collected her first win of the season.

The Bulldogs travel to Oklahoma State tomorrow to play in the Mizuno Classic.


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