JAGS OPEN SUMMIT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT WITH 10-2 WIN OVER LEATHERNECKS
May 8, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
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FARGO, N.D. – Playing in its first postseason tournament game in nine years, the IUPUI softball team wasted little time making its presence known as the Jags exploded for nine runs in the first inning en route to picking up a 10-2, five-inning victory in its opening game of the 2014 Summit League Softball Tournament.
The win improved the Jags to 23-22 on the season and advanced the Jags into the top half of the bracket where they will play top-seeded and tournament host North Dakota State on Thursday, May 8, at 1:30 p.m. ET. The win also was the program's second postseason victory in its D-I era marking its first since 1999.
"We talked as a team last night that we are the first IUPUI team in a long time to represent our school in this tournament and our players took that to heart," head coach Amanda Rivera said. "Our kids were focused on every pitch and they did a good job of putting good pitches in play. We are excited to get the opportunity to play a really good North Dakota State tomorrow and hopefully we can have similar success."
IUPUI starter Jocelyn Oppenhuis found herself in some trouble to start the game. Sammy Marshall, the reigning two-time Summit League Player of the Year, started the game with a lead-off double to immediately put a runner in scoring position. Oppenhuis picked up a strikeout during the next at-bat, but the determining pitch was a wild pitch allowing the strikeout victim to reach first while moving Marshall to third. Despite having runners on first and third and nobody out, the senior right-hander refocused and picked up consecutive strikeouts before registering a pop out to get out of the inning.
From that point, the Jags offense took over as the first nine batters of the game reached base and all of them scored to give them a 9-0 lead. The damage started when Ali Mosier led off the inning with a solo home run to left field. Back-to-back walks to Morgan Schlobohm and Roni Patterson put runners on first and second with nobody out, before Taylor Chitwood deposited a three-run home run over the right-field fence to up the advantage to 4-0.
Chitwood's home run prompted a Leathernecks pitching change, but that didn't stop the IUPUI offense. Sarah Lawrence drew a four-pitch walk to continue the inning, and then consecutive singles from Maggie Good and Angela Bartucci loaded the bases for Lindsey Richards. Richards brought home two runs on a double to boost the cushion to 6-0, before scoring during the next at-bat on an Eryn Dillon three-run homer to up the cushion to 9-0.
Oppenhuis retired the side in order in the second, before managing to get out of trouble in both the third and the fourth innings to keep the score at 9-0. In the fourth, Patterson hit the team's fourth homer of the game, a solo shot to center field, to up the IUPUI lead to 10-0.
That home run proved to be valuable as Western Illinois scored two runs in the fifth on a home run, but Oppenhuis forced a fly out following the homer to finish off the 10-2, five-inning victory for the Jags.
Mosier led the squad with two hits, while Chitwood and Dillon both drove in a team-high three runs.
Oppenhuis went 5.0 innings giving up five hits and two runs while striking out seven to pick up her ninth victory of the season.