Offense Powers Drake to Saturday Sweep; Bulldogs Lock In Top Four MVC Tournament Seed
DES MOINES, Iowa – A strong offensive performance powered the Drake Bulldogs (27-27, 16-10 MVC) to a sweep of Wichita State (15-39, 7-19 MVC) Saturday afternoon, 6-4 and 4-2 at Ron Buel Field.
Sophomore Jordan Gronewold (Carlisle, Iowa) started the first game for the Bulldogs and picked up her 18th win this season. She pitched five and a third innings, allowed six hits, four runs with just one earned and struck out five before Rebekah Schmidt (Cottage Grove, Minn.) entered the game in relief. The freshman pitched lights out as she collected four strikeouts and did not allow a hit and she earned her eighth save.
The Shockers got on the board in the top of the first inning to take the lead, 1-0, but it did not last long as the Bulldogs responded in the bottom of the frame when Hayley Nybo (Minnetonka, Minn.) hit a double to centerfield to put Drake on top, 2-1.
Wichita State regained the lead, 3-2, in the top of the third inning with a single by Erin Carney that brought in two runs.
Once again, the Bulldogs responded in the bottom of the inning, as they added two runs to take the lead, 4-3. Senior Jaimie Duffek (Brookfield, Ill.) placed a blooper over the third baseman’s head to tie the game by plating Torey Craddock (Tucson, Ariz.). Freshman Sarah Ryan (Mount Vernon, Iowa) took the lead for Drake as she scored on a sacrifice fly by Liz Buck (Overland Park, Kan.).
The Bulldogs added a couple insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nybo hit a sacrifice fly to score junior Sam West (Kearney, Mo.) and Craddock scored on a ground ball that got past Hayley Temple.
The top offensive performer for the Bulldogs was Nybo, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, a double, and a sacrifice fly. Craddock and Macie Silliman (Winterset, Iowa) each added two hits and a stolen base to the Drake total.
Schmidt returned to the circle to start the second game and recorded her ninth win with another strong pitching performance. The freshman pitched all seven innings, collected six strikeouts, scattered seven hits and allowed two runs.
In the second inning, Schmidt gave herself the early lead, 3-0, by hitting her first career home run. She went deep once again in the fourth inning and is the first Bulldog with a multi home run game this season.
Wichita State rallied for runs in the fifth and sixth innings to trim the lead to 4-2, but it was not enough and the Bulldogs prevailed.
With two losses by Southern Illinois and Creighton today, Drake currently sits alone in third place in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs are guarenteed no lower than the fourth seed after tomorrow's games for the MVC Tournament.
Drake will close out the regular season on Sunday against Wichita State. First pitch is 12 p.m., which will be preceded by a ceremony to honor the three seniors, Rose Magaddino (Tucson, Ariz.), Duffek and Craddock.