The Eastern Michigan University softball team faced the Butler University Bulldogs in the team’s season opener Friday. Showing signs of a promising season with good pitching and speed from the defense, the Eagles made quick work of the Bulldogs by a score of 6-1.
Leading the way for the Eagles was senior pitcher Jenna Ignowski. Pitching a complete game, Ignowski only allowed six hits and struck out six Bulldog batters.
The Eagle bats also made an impact on the game. Junior infielder Amanda Stanton hit an early two-run home run to give the Eagles an early 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Sophomore outfielder Jenn Lucas drove in two runs in the top of the fourth inning and senior infielder Nellie Coquillard hit a home run of her own in the top of the fifth, making it difficult for the Bulldogs to stage a comeback.
With Eastern combining for nine hits, EMU made sure to take full advantage of the opportunities Butler gave the team. With runners on base, the EMU batters knew they had to drive in a few runs to stretch the team’s lead.
The team’s next matchup Friday was against the Georgia Tech University Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech defeated Eastern 12-0, scoring at least one run in each of the seven innings played. The Yellow Jackets combined for 14 hits with four players having a multi-hit performance.
The Eagles struggled both offensively and on the mound as junior pitcher Lauren Wells allowed 11 hits and six earned runs in five innings.
Sophomore Lindsay Rich did not fare much better, allowing six runs on three hits and two walks in only two innings.
Eastern’s only hit of the contest came from sophomore infielder Amanda Herron in the bottom of the second.
The Eagles would start the game off slow and continue at the same pace. Allowing Yellow Jacket pitcher Hope Rush to earn five strikeouts and only one walk while throwing a complete game.
When Eastern did manage to make contact with the ball, it would quickly result in a ground ball out or a pop out. This would prove to negate the Eagles from finding any type of rhythm.
On Saturday, the Eagles began by taking on the Kennesaw State University Owls. The Eagles fell 7-0. Wells started the game and did not fare much better than she did Friday against Georgia Tech.
In 5.1 innings pitched, she gave up six earned runs on seven hits while striking out only four batters and walking two. Ignowski came in to relieve her and gave up one run on three hits in 2/3 of an inning.
The Eagles scattered seven hits on Owl starter Abbey Mixon, who went the distance, keeping the Eagles scoreless while walking one
batter and striking out 10.
Owl Kaylee Williams hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first, and Sarah Sikes added an RBI single in the second and also scored a run on a Bianca Durant RBI single in the fifth. A four-run sixth inning capped off the scoring and the Owl shutout.
The Eagles wrapped up Saturday’s play with a rematch against Butler. The Eagles picked up where they left off Friday afternoon with an 8-0 mercy in five innings over the Bulldogs.
Rich earned the win for the Eagles, pitching the complete game shutout. She gave up three hits, two walks and a strikeout while facing 19 Bulldogs.
Already up 3-0 in the fifth, the Eagles put up five runs including the deciding sacrifice fly by freshman left fielder Cassidy Jenkins, scoring senior Courtney Nicholson and giving the Eagles the win.
The Eagles will be staying out of the Michigan cold by traveling to Boca Raton, Fla., March 1 to participate in the eight-day FAU Tournament. The team doesn’t play at Varsity Field again until March 27 against Oakland University.