Louisville, KY – The University of Findlay softball team began their regular season play with a double-header sweep of non-conference opponents on Saturday, February 3. The first game was played against the Bellarmine University Knights and the second against the Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters.
Game 1 | W 10-4 (Box Score)
The Oilers kicked off their season with a flurry of offense in the early innings of their first game against the Bellarmine Knights.
Findlay wasted no time getting on the board thanks to a solo-homerun in the top of the first inning from senior Kelley Cejer. Fellow senior Madison Arnold followed up with a single to left and scored on the next at-bat on a double off the bat of junior Salwa Al-Hajabed. With with two outs and a runner on third in the top of the first, freshman Dylan Wiley singled to left field to score sophomore Emily Barr, who had entered the game earlier in the inning to pinch run for Al-Hajabed.
The Oilers were not finished scoring yet, as senior Amanda Delmonte stepped up to the plate and ripped a triple down the right field line to bring Wiley around for their fourth run of the inning, making the score 4-0 before Knights headed in for their first at-bat.
Bellarmine got one run back in the bottom of the first to bring the score to 4-1, and both teams went scoreless in the second inning of play.
The Oilers had another big inning in the top of the third, tacking on four additional runs to their lead. The scoring began with one out and the bases loaded when Delmonte reached safely on a fielder's choice, scoring Arnold from third. After an infield pop-up was recorded for the second out, freshman Devyn Zuro was called to the plate to pinch hit. Zuro delivered with a single past the shortstop, scoring Al-Hajabed from third base. Senior Meredith Shepherd followed up with a single of her own down the right field line to score senior Destinee Keeton and Delmonte, boosting the Oiler lead to 8-1 heading into the bottom of the third.
Additional runs were scored in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Keeton and in the six with a solo-homerun from Al-Hajabed.
The Knights would record a run in the bottom of the third, sixth, and seventh innings, but it would not be enough as the Oilers received the 10-4 victory.
Junior Hailey Bryan received the win on the mound for the Oilers. Bryan went 5.0 innings giving up five hits and two runs (one earned), while recording three strikeouts and only one walk.
Game 2 | W 4-2 (Box Score)
After giving up one run in the top of the first, Meredith Shepherd led off with a single to center field to begin the bottom half of the inning. After advancing to second on a fielder's choice, Shepherd advanced to third on a wild pitch that walked Madison Arnold. Arnold later advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Evyn Kachenmeister. Destinie Keeton stepped up next and delivered a single that scored Shepherd, evening the score at 1-1. During the next at-bat, Keeton stole second and caused a play that allowed Arnold to score the second Oiler run of the game.
Lincoln Memorial answered in the top of the fourth inning, tying the game on a run scored with a sacrifice fly.
After blanking the Railsplitters in the top of the fifth, The Oiler offense went to work again in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Allison Brunner led off the inning with a walk on four straight pitches, followed up by another single from Shepherd to advancer Brunner to second. Kelley Cejer followed suit with a single of her own, scoring Brunner and moving Shepherd to third base. Salwa Al-Hajabed entered the game as a pinch hitter and delivered a ground ball to the shortstop that would score Shepherd from third base, moving to score to the eventual 4-2 final in favor of the Oilers.
Freshman Caragyn Yanek started the game on the mound for Findlay. Yanek threw three innings, gave up two runs (one earned) while allowing four hits and 3 bases on balls.
Junior Molly Crosby earned the pitching victory for the Oilers. Crosby entered the game at the beginning of the fourth inning to pitch the remaining allowing only one hit, zero runs, and recording four strikeouts.
Shepherd was the only Oiler hitter that recorded multiple hits(2) and runs scored(2) during the game.
The Oilers will be back in action on Friday, February 23 when they began a weekend of play in Rosemont, Illinois. Their first game is set to begin at 10:00 AM as they take on Missouri S&T.