Softball Splits Doubleheader at Eastern Michigan
YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Akron softball team, playing in its final road trip of the season, posted a split of its doubleheader at Eastern Michigan, falling 5-4 in game one (10 innings) and winning game two 4-3.
Game one turned into a marathon as the Zips (20-27-1, 4-12 MAC) played in their first 10-inning game since beating Buffalo 8-7 in 10 innings on April 23, 2010. Alissa Birkhimer and Rachael Ratcliffe led the Akron offense at the plate with identical 3-for-5 performances. Birkhimer added two RBIs and a run scored while Ratcliffe drove in a run of her own.
Eastern Michigan (20-29, 6-11 MAC) jumped out to an early lead, scoring runs in the first and second innings to grab a 3-0 advantage. Akron got on the board in the top of the third with two runs to cut the EMU lead to 3-2. With two on and two outs, Birkhimer slapped a single up the middle to plate Keelia Nester and Amanda Ricker.
A run in the bottom of the fifth gave the Eagles a 4-2 lead before a seventh-inning rally by the Zips tied the game at 4-4. With one out in the seventh, UA strung together four-straight hits to plate two runs, including an RBI single by Ratcliffe and an RBI double by Allison Dorr. EMU would leave two runners on base in the bottom of the frame to send the game into extra innings.
Neither team had much of a chance to plate the winning run in the eighth and ninth innings. In the top of the tenth, the Zips had a chance to take the lead when Dorr opened the frame by reaching on an error. Following a walk by Kellie Roudabush, Brittany Maurer was called out for batter's interference. Taryn Allmon walked to load the bases, but pinch runner Alexis Montesano was picked off at third and Crystal Hernandez struck out swinging to end the inning.
An error, a sac bunt and a single set up EMU with a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the tenth before a wild pitch by Maurer allowed the winning run to score. Maurer (16-20) was tabbed with the loss, allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits in 9.1 innings while striking out six and walking four.
Dorr and Ratcliffe each went 2-for-3 in game two, including an RBI and a run scored for each. Andrea Arney (2-0) earned the complete-game victory, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and striking out three.
Akron grabbed the early lead in game two, plating three runs in the top of the first. Nester would score the first run of the game on a fielder's choice by Birkhimer. Birkhimer would later score on Dorr's groundout and Ratcliffe would comer around with two outs on an EMU fielding error for the 3-0 advantage.
The Eagles would answer with runs in the first and fifth innings to close to 4-2, but the Zips had an answer in the sixth. After Alex Helfrich led the inning off with a single and was quickly advanced to second on the sac bunt by Birkhimer, Helfrich would score on Ratcliffe's single up the middle.
Eastern Michigan would make one last rally in the bottom of the seventh, scoring one run with two outs. However, Arney would get the final EMU batter to pop out to end the threat and the game with two runners on base.
Akron will then travel to Mt. Pleasant, Mich., to battle Central Michigan on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).