CLERMONT, Fla. – Urbana University’s offense exploded for six runs in the first inning on Thursday, carrying the Blue Knights to a 9-2 triumph over Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) in softball. The win marked the first UU (1-5) victory of the season under new head coach Kira Zeiter.
UU’s starting pitcher Courtney Stewart tossed a gem, giving up just two hits and one earned run inside the circle. The junior southpaw retired nine of the final 10 batters she faced to record her first win, while also posting a team-high two hits and two runs scored at the plate.
The Blue Knights received contributions up and down the lineup, led by second baseman Learic Kinser who registered two hits and scored two runs, and third baseman Nikki Holthaus who produced two runs on two hits as well. Additionally, Katelyn Edwards and Jenna VanHoose each singled once in four at-bats, while Savannah Sturgill knocked in two runs and Cortney Moore was credited with an RBI.
Stewart got things started with a leadoff single and then Kinser drew a walk to put two aboard in the first. Edwards knocked in the first run on a fielder’s choice, and then the Blue Knights took advantage after loading the bases with no outs. Sturgill drew a walk, Holthaus singled, and Moore connected on a sacrifice fly to plate three more. Eventually, two more unearned runs were scored before the big inning was over to put UU ahead 6-0.
Saint Joe’s responded with a run in the bottom of the first, but UU tacked on two more in the fourth and one in the fifth to cruise past the Pumas. Sturgill and Holthaus each knocked in their second RBI with two outs in the top of the fourth, while Kinser doubled in the fifth to bring home Stewart.
The Blue Knights outhit the Pumas 8-2 and each team comitted two errors.
UU will close out its Florida trip today with a doubleheader against Assumption College (5 p.m.) and Saginaw Valley State (7 p.m.). The Blue Knights return for their home opener on Tuesday against Ashland.