CLERMONT, Fla. – The Urbana University softball team closed its Florida trip by splitting a doubleheader, falling 3-0 to No. 24 UIndy and bouncing back to defeat Slippery Rock, 6-4.
UU earned its first win of the season as head coach Brooke McCartney logged her first coaching victory.
The Blue Knights will enter conference play this weekend with a 1-13 overall record.
Solid defense kept UU close against No. 24 UIndy, but Halie Waters led the Greyhounds with a three-hit shutout in the circle. The right-hander improved to 9-2 while striking out 12 batters.
The Greyhounds scored twice in the first and once in the second inning, before the two teams prevented another run from scoring the rest of the way.
After the rocky start, UU’s Kayleigh Pate dialed in from the circle. The sophomore righty struck out four and walked one batter in the complete-game outing. She only allowed four hits over the final five frames.
Offensively, Pate produced a double at the plate while freshmen Mikayla Kesel and Graham High School graduate Madison Bryant also posted a base hit. UU’s best scoring threat came in the fifth. Sophomore second baseman Britney Bonno drew a one-out walk and then, two batters later, Kesel moved her to third with a two-out single up the middle. But, Waters escaped the jam by inducing a fly out.
UIndy shortstop Brooke Montgomery and center fielder Hanna Burris combined for six of the Greyhounds’ nine hits.
UU raced out to a 6-0 lead after plating three runs in the first and third innings. The Blue Knights racked up seven of their 10 hits in the opening three frames as every batter in the lineup reached base.
Bryant knocked in the first run on a bases-loaded RBI groundout in the top of the first. Two batters later, freshman Mackenzie Frantz sent a two-run double over the right fielder’s head to put UU ahead 3-0.
In the third, junior Mykee Holtz lifted a sac fly to center field while Kesel and Gardner each brought a run home with RBI singles.
The Rock got on the board with a run in the fourth, but UU starter Bryant escaped a bases-loaded jam to limit the damage. Bryant earned her first career win in the circle by allowing four runs on six hits. The freshman righty struck out a pair and walked four.
UU stalled at the plate over the final stages of the game, but got big defensive plays when it mattered most.
After SRU’s Leigh Vith homered in the sixth, The Rock added another run on a sac fly to make it 6-4. On that play, Bonno raced from her position at second base and made a tough grab for the second out, holding on to the ball as she collided with Kesel in short right field.
Bryant was able to work her way out of the inning following the gutsy play, and Pate came on in the seventh to close the door for her first save.
Holtz, Kesel and Bonno led the way with two hits apiece. The Blue Knights posted a season-low total with only one strikeout at the plate.
UU has a quick turnaround with conference play beginning this weekend. The Blue Knights travel Saturday to West Liberty and then over to Wheeling Jesuit on Sunday for back-to-back MEC doubleheaders.