Softball Rallies To Knock Off Bradley, 5-4, In Eight Innings
DES MOINES, Iowa – Senior Jordan Gronewold (Carlisle, Iowa) scored the winning run in the eighth inning and tossed seven scoreless innings in the circle as the Drake University softball team rallied to beat the Bradley Braves, 5-4, on Sunday afternoon at Ron Buel Field in its final home game of the 2014 season.
Freshman Kaitlyn Finneran (Morrison, Ill.) hit a walk-off single to center field in the bottom of the eighth inning to drive in Gronewold from second base. Gronewold drew a one-out walk and moved into scoring position with a stolen base.
Junior Rebekah Schmidt (Cottage Grove, Minn.) started the game for the Bulldogs, but had a rocky first inning, allowing four runs on four hits, including back-to-back home runs. Schmidt’s day in the circle ended with a pair of runners on base in the second inning, being relieved by Gronewold who quickly shut down the Bradley (24-30, 15-12 MVC) threat. The senior struck out three batters and scattered seven hits without allowing a run as she earned her first win of the season.
Trailing 4-1 in its final at-bat, Drake (19-31, 11-14 MVC) evened the score at 4-4 with the help of Schmidt’s bat as she remained in the contest as the designated player. Down to the final out, Schmidt blasted her sixth home run of the season, and her second in the seventh inning in as many games, to send the game to extras with the score tied at 4-4.
In her final game at Ron Buel Field, senior Liz Buck (Overland Park, Kan.) launched her first career home run to headline the Bulldogs’ bats. Freshman Megan Sowa (Gurnee, Ill.) was 2-for-2 with a run scored and two singles and she drew two walks, while Finneran went 3-for-4 with three singles. Schmidt was 1-for-4 with a three-run home run.
After a pair of singles put runners on the corners to start the game for the Braves, Marina Groenewegen blasted a home run to left field to put Bradley on the scoreboard with a three-run shot. The next batter, Madeline Lynch-Crumrine hit an almost identical home run on a 1-2 count to give Bradley a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the first inning, Drake loaded the bases with nobody out, but Bradley denied the Bulldogs’ scoring threat with a double play and a pop up to get out of the inning with its 4-0 lead intact.
Schmidt did not fare much better in the second inning, allowing a hit and a walk to put runners at first and second with nobody out, a jam which Gronewold promptly worked out of to keep the score at 4-0.
Buck put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning with her first career home run to make the score, 4-1.
The Braves threatened to extend their lead in the top of the third inning, loading the bases with no outs, but Gronewold struck out the next two batters and forced a groundout to third base for the final out to work out of the jam.
Drake shut down another scoring opportunity in the top of the eighth inning with two outs, keeping the score tied, 4-4. Alyson Clemente hit a ball to the right field wall with Brianne Joseph at first, but the relay throw from junior Hayley Nybo (Minnetonka, Minn.) to junior Laura Brewer (Waukee, Iowa) made it to senior catcher, Cortney Wood (Alburnett, Iowa), in time to tag out Joseph at the plate.
The Bulldogs will play their final regular season game on Tuesday, May 6 at Iowa State. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Cyclone Sports Complex.
Drake’s win on Sunday secured the sixth seed for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in Normal, Ill. this upcoming week. The Bulldogs will play seventh-seeded Loyola as the home team on Thursday, May 8 at 1:35 p.m. at Marian Kneer Stadium. The winner between the two teams will advance to play three-seed Southern Illinois that evening at 6:35 p.m.