Story by Austin Cannon
After a nearly two-week break, the Drake softball team finally saw action, playing a three-game series at Southern Illinois this weekend. Drake dropped all three by scores of 3-0, 6-3 and 11-3, respectively.
The trio of losses dropped the Bulldogs into an 0-3 hole in record to 6-19.
Cold temperatures moved the series, originally scheduled at Drake, to the Salukis’ Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale, Ill.
“We were all just kind of annoyed that we had to make the nine-hour drive,” said sophomore pitcher Mariah McKinnon.
In the first of two games on Saturday, Drake starter Jordan Gronewold was able to hold the Salukis hitless for the first two innings, but SIU was able to break through with four hits and scored three runs in the third.
That was enough for the Salukis as Drake was unable to get on the board.
Katie Bertelsen only gave up four hits and struck out four in seven shutout innings. Liz Buck collected two for Drake.
Down 2-0 in the third inning of the second Saturday game, Drake was able to string together some hits to end the eight-inning scoreless drought.
Gronewold knocked in Courtney Wood and Laura Brewer with a double. Buck later plated Gronewold with an RBI groundout to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.
The lead failed to survive the third when the Salukis where able to notch two more runs off Drake starter McKinnon.
SIU added two more insurance runs, one in the fourth and one in the sixth, both off Rebekah Schmidt and won 6-3.
In the Sunday finale, Drake managed to get a little offense going, but could not keep up with the Salukis.
Drake took a 1-0 lead in the first when junior Hayley Nybo drove in freshman Megan Sowa.
SIU tied it up in the bottom half of the inning and then tagged Schmidt for four runs in the third to take a four-run lead.
The Salukis managed six more runs, one in the fourth, two in the third and three in the sixth.
Freshman Shaye Harre led the Saluki’s offensive attack with three RBIs.
Buck and Nybo each recorded RBIs in the fifth, but it did little to challenge SIU.
Schmidt, 5-9, gave up six runs, five earned, in three and two-thirds innings and got the loss. McKinnon surrendered five in relief.
“We just need to come to practice ready to work hard and just kind of forget forget about it, honestly,” McKinnon said. “We can play better than we did.”
Drake hosted Creighton yesterday and heads to Loyola this weekend for a three-game set with the Ramblers.
“All of our goals are still reachable, of course,” Gronewold said.