By ERIN O’BOYLE
Drake softball continued the start of their season this past weekend in their second tournament of the year, the Razorback Invitational hosted by Arkansas. Drake played and won a total of 5 games and added to their season record of 10-4.
They started off the tournament playing IUPUI (2-9) on Friday, Feb. 22 and swept the Jaguars in a 5-0 game with Nicole Timmons, pitcher, allowing IUPUI one hit for the entirety of the game as she dominated the mound for all seven innings and got a career-high 13 strikeouts in her second-ever shutout.
The Bulldogs got two of their five runs in the bottom of the first and the first inning proved to be crucial in both games. Libby Ryan, infielder, drove in the first of two runs versus IUPUI in her first at bat and managed to steal home. In the second match of the day against SEMO (8-6), Kennedy Frank, infielder, nailed a single down the right foul line and got two runs in followed by freshman utility Alexia Lara’s double into left leading two more to score.
After the two wins on Friday, Drake added another two in a 7-5 rematch against SEMO and 3-1 win over No. 12 Arkansas (9-4). Versus SEMO, Mandi Roemmich, infielder, led Drake going .750 for the match with three hits, two runs scored and an RBI.
In the second-consecutive win over SEMO, Drake started off hot holding SEMO in the first and adding three runs up under the support of Timmons. SEMO came back in the second and scored five, but Drake held them for the rest of the game to get the victory.
Drake continued to bring the heat against Arkansas Saturday when Nicole Newman, pitcher, upped her winning streak to two and got a two-run double in the first to keep Drake ahead the entire game. She pitched a complete game with 11 strikeouts to mark her fifth match of the season with more than 10 strikeouts.
“Beating No. 12 Arkansas was really good for us,” Roemmich said. “It was good to come back from last weekend and to come back strong. Our pitching was really together and on our hitting we really started jumping on them early in the games.”
To finish off the invitational, Drake faced SIUE (5-5) Sunday morning and got a 3-2 win to finish the tournament going 5-0. Timmons added another win to her 6-2 season record pitching 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts before Newman relieved and got out of bases loaded only allowing one run in the sixth.
The Bulldogs scored all three of their runs in this game after Roemmich and Macy Johnson, outfielder, got back-to-back walks and Ryan drove Roemmich in with her fifth single of the tournament. Three more consecutive walks led Frank and Taryn Pena, infielder, to get the last two runs.
Next, Drake heads to Tucson to face No. 14 Arizona on Thursday, Feb. 28 before kicking off the Wildcat Invitational, which runs through the weekend. The Bulldogs are set to play Arizona again, Kent State, James Madison and Minnesota twice.
“I’m really excited for this weekend, we have some really good challenges,” Roemmich said. “[As far as the tournament goes], this is the best set of teams we’ll play all year so it will be a good challenge for us to see where we’re at.”