STORY BY ADAM ROGAN
Drake Softball played five games in Fort Collins this past weekend, coming away with two wins.
“We lost a few close ones,” senior Sarah Ryan said. “Offensively we had a good weekend, we had a lot of hits, but we didn’t get some wins.”
Competition began on Friday afternoon, Drake facing off with the University of Nebraska Omaha.
The Bulldogs got off to an early lead as pinch runner sophomore Maddie Hooyman scored on an error in the bottom of the second inning, her fourth run of the season. Kaitlin Finneran hit a single later on in the inning, scoring sophomore Ashlie Chambers to put Drake up 2-0.
Nebraska Omaha responded in the top of the third with a two-run home run to tie the game off of senior pitcher Rebekah Schmidt.
Freshman Kailee Smith came in for relief in the sixth inning with the score tied at four, her fourth appearance of the season. Smith hurled a scoreless side in the sixth, but surrendered four runs in the top of the seventh.
Drake was unable to get back into the game and Nebraska Omaha snatched an 8-4 win away from the Bulldogs, Smith taking her first loss of the season.
For the first matchup of Sunday’s games the Bulldogs faced Valparaiso University.
The Bulldogs ended a scoreless tie in the third inning when Schmidt scored Nybo on a single.
But the game would be broken wide open in a three-run, fourth inning thanks to a string of hits from Kelsey Wright, Megan Sowa and Nybo.
The Bulldogs ended the game by mercy rule with four runs in the fifth inning, including a two-RBI double from Nybo.
Schmidt struck out four and only gave up two hits in her fourth shutout of the season.
Sowa led the way in the batter’s box, going 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBIs and one run scored.
A slugfest against Colorado State took place in the afternoon.
Again the Bulldogs scored first when Sowa picked up where she left off in the morning, hitting a two-run, no-out homer. Nybo would be scored soon after when she hit her fourth double of the season and was taken home by an RBI single from Schmidt, her first of two RBIs on the day.
Schmidt’s second RBI came on a solo homer in the top of the third inning.
Freshman Nicole Newman threw two scoreless innings before she was rattled in the bottom of the third, giving up five runs before being replaced by Schmidt.
Schmidt would give up another three runs before the day was out, the Bulldogs losing 8-4.
The Bulldogs bounced back on Sunday morning when they took on Nebraska Omaha.
Sowa picked up her sixth RBI of the weekend in the first inning. More Drake bats followed suit, scoring another four runs and giving the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead after one-and-a-half innings.
Sowa would pick up another RBI, her 17th of the season in the afternoon as she went 9-17 on the weekend with a triple, home run and two doubles to go along with five runs scored, earning her the MVC Softball Player of the Week Award, the first time she has been given the honor in her career. Sowa’s play at the Colorado State Classic also bumped her batting average up from .216 to .313 on the season.
“(Getting the award) was actually kind of surprising. I didn’t really expect it,” Sowa said.
Nebraska Omaha responded in the bottom of the second, but only managed one run off of Newman. Newman went on to complete the game, giving up five hits, three walks and striking out five.
Drake took on Colorado State again Sunday afternoon and the bats for each team got off to a quick start, each team scoring four runs in the first two innings.
The tie would be broken in the fourth inning with two, two-out hits to earn a 6-4 lead.
Drake got runners into scoring position in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but were unable to score the base-runners.
Drake ended up with more hits than Colorado State in the game, 11-7, but that still wasn’t enough to get their 10th win of the season.
“We need to string some hits together. Right now we leave a lot of people on base so if we can get some timely hitting that’d be really great,” Sarah Ryan said.
The Bulldogs will play their first home games of the season in a three-game series against Evansville on March 21-22 at Ron Buel Field.