Drake Splits Home Doubleheader With Bradley
DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University softball team split a doubleheader with Bradley, beating the Braves 3-2 in the first game before falling 10-8 in the second contest on Saturday at Ron Buel Field.
The win secured a spot in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament next week in Normal, Ill. The Bulldogs will be either the sixth or the seventh seed with Loyola taking the other seed based on tomorrow's outcomes. Drake and Loyola will square off in the six versus seven game on Thursday, May 8 at 1:35 p.m. at Marian Kneer Stadium. The Ramblers play at UNI on Sunday.
Drake (18-31, 10-14 MVC) honored its five seniors: Liz Buck (Overland Park, Kan.), Jordan Gronewold (Carlisle, Iowa), Amy Pierce (Olathe, Kan.), Nicole Randel (Alpine, Calif.) and Cortney Wood (Alburnett, Iowa) prior to the first contest.
In game one of the doubleheader, Drake started junior Rebekah Schmidt (Cottage Grove, Minn.) in the circle and watched her improve her record to 16-11 on the season with a complete game. She allowed two runs (both unearned) and scattered five hits and struck out two batters.
Freshman Megan Sowa (Gurnee, Ill.) was 3-for-3 in the first game, and scored all of Drake’s runs. Junior Hayley Nybo (Minnetonka, Minn.) was responsible for the other Drake hit with a single in the first inning.
Bradley (24-29, 15-11 MVC) struck for two runs in the top of the first inning after a walk and an error put runners on the bases for the Braves to begin the game. Although Schmidt retired the next two batters she faced, Shannon King hit a blooper just over Pierce’s head into left-center field to score two runs.
The Bulldogs got one back in the bottom of the frame to make the score 2-1. With the bases loaded and one out, Nybo ripped a ball to first base that was knocked down by the Braves’ second baseman, but Sowa had plenty of time to score from third on the RBI groundout.
With runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the third inning, Sowa scored from third on an error by Bradley’s catcher trying to catch Nybo on a double steal attempt to tie the game at 2-2.
After leading off with a triple, Sowa stole home on the Bulldogs successful double steal to give Drake its first lead of the day, 3-2, in the bottom of the fifth frame.
Sophomore Mariah McKinnon (Oxford, Iowa) started in the circle for the Bulldogs in the second game and pitched one inning, allowing two runs on four hits before being relieved in the top of the second inning by Gronewold, who inherited a runner at first with zero outs. Gronewold allowed one run on four hits in 2.2 innings of work before Schmidt came in. Schmidt pitched 1.1 innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits before Gronewold returned to pitch in the sixth inning. The senior finished the game for the Bulldogs and ended the game with a line of 4.2 innings pitched and allowed three runs on seven hits, while striking out two batters.
Wood hit her first home run of the season to lead the Bulldogs’ offense with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate. Junior Laura Brewer (Waukee, Iowa) was 1-for-3 with two runs batted in. Pierce had two hits and scored two runs, and Schmidt had four runs batted in on her seventh-inning grand slam. It’s the first career grand slam for Schmidt.
Once again, Bradley got out to a quick start by scoring two runs off King’s bat in the first inning to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.
The Braves extended their lead in the third inning, adding a run to their total to make the score 3-0. After the Bulldogs retired the first two batters of the inning, three consecutive singles allowed King to round the bases.
Drake started to put together some offense in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs in the inning, Pierce and Sowa both singled to put runners on the corners for Brewer. The junior hit a fly ball to left field that found the grass, despite the efforts of a diving Brianne Joseph, to plate both runners on base, making the score, 3-2.
The fifth inning was not kind to the Bulldogs, as the Braves scored five runs on five hits in the inning, and took advantage of one Bulldog error, to make the score 8-2.
Drake cut into the Braves’ lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Wood’s first home run of the season making the score, 8-4.
After Bradley tacked on a pair runs in the top of the seventh inning, Drake responded in the bottom of the frame with Schmidt’s grand slam to cut into Bradley’s lead, 10-8. However, the rally attempt fell just short as Braves retired the next two batters to hold on for the win.
The two teams will close out the series Sunday with a single game scheduled for noon.