The Urbana University softball team scored three runs in its final at-bat to complete the comeback and secure a split with Charleston on Saturday afternoon at Blue Knight Softball Field. The Golden Eagles, who entered the day in first place of the Mountain East Conference South Division, took Game 1 by a final score of 4-1. Then, the Blue Knights were down 4-2 and used the late rally to pick up the 5-4 win in the second game of the series.
UU improved to 15-17 overall and now sits at 11-11 in MEC games. The Blue Knights were tied for second in the North Division going into Saturday’s games. Charleston moved to 29-12 overall (17-5).
The Blue Knights trailed 3-0 as they came to the plate in the third after the visitors had scored twice in the first and once in the second frame. Then, junior catcher Margo Jackson put the Knights on the board and trimmed the deficit to two when her deep drive up the middle landed past the center fielder for an RBI double.
UU also produced three hits in the fourth, but left the bases full with nothing to show for it. That was the last solid scoring opportunity for UU as the Golden Eagles’ starter Alli Burdette settled in. The Blue Knights totaled nine hits against Burdette, who earned her 12th win in the circle.
Courtney Stewart got the start for UU in the circle while Carly Allen also tossed three-plus innings. Stewart (5-7) was tagged with the loss after surrendering three runs on seven hits.
Bailee Faulkner, Riley Curtis, and Courtney Kennedy each recorded two hits while Stewart, Jackson and Caitlyn Stoner also provided a base knock. The Blue Knights were outhit 11-9 through seven innings.
For the second day in a row, the Blue Knights gathered momentum in the bottom of the seventh to make a comeback.
UU trailed 4-2 without much pressure being applied to UC pitcher Jessie Rowe through six innings. However, the Blue Knight magic came to life with three consecutive one-out singles by Jenna VanHoose, Margo Jackson, and Caitlyn Stoner to load the bases. Bailee Faulkner, who has an active six-game hitting streak, stepped up next and laced a hard grounder to the left side. UC’s shortstop tried to make a play at second base, but was too slow as Stoner slid in, and the Blue Knights scored a run without an out on the play.
That prompted the Golden Eagles to make a pitching change, and in the high-pressure situation, the UC reliever gifted UU a win by throwing eight balls on nine pitches to walk Riley Curtis and Mykee Holtz and push the winning runs across.
Allen picked up the win to move to 10-10 on the year. The freshman right-hander did not allow a hit after the fourth inning to keep the Blue Knights within striking distance.
Charleston led 3-1 after one inning of play with UU’s run coming off an RBI double roped by Stoner. Then, the visitors added their final run in the third on a home run and UU responded in the fourth with an RBI single by Faulkner.
VanHoose, Jackson, Stoner, and Curtis each had two hits in the second matchup.
UU travels to national power UIndy for a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday. The Blue Knights will then make a trip to UVa-Wise and Concord next weekend.