Softball drops two in weekend series

Grant Cohen

In an effort to bounce back from a 10-run shortfall against No. 14-ranked Oklahoma on Wednesday, the Shockers took a step back after dropping two out of three games at Evansville over the weekend.

Game 1

Both teams struggled to get runs early in Game 1 on Saturday, with four hits through the first four innings. The Shockers got it rolling in the fifth inning. Senior Brittany Fortner hit a single to drive in freshman Laurie Ann Derrico in from third base.

Pinch hitting for junior Kelli Spring, senior Liz Broyles hit a single to right center field that gave Wichita State a 2-0 lead.

Evansville’s only run came in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring off of a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Junior Katie Malone got her third save of the season by forcing three straight outs by the Purple Aces in the final inning, giving the Shockers a 2-1 win.

Junior Jenni Brooks got her 11th win of the season, pitching six innings while striking out three Evansville batters, giving up three hits.

Game 2

The Shockers made sure they got on the scoreboard early in game two, with Broyles hitting a single that scored junior Paige Luellen in the first inning. Sophomore Mackenzie Wright hit the fifth and final hit of the inning with a single to left field, scoring a run that put the Shockers up 2-0.

Luellen’s two-run home run in the fourth inning increased the Shockers lead to 4-0, but a grand slam homerun by Evansville’s Morgan Lambert tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning.

An RBI double by Evansville in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Purple Aces their fifth and final run of the game, forcing three straight outs by Wichita State in the seventh inning to defeat the Shockers in Saturday’s second game 5-4.

Game 3

Trying to get the series win on Sunday, the Shockers got a boost by junior Macklin Hitz, who started off the game with a solo home run to right field to put WSU up 1-0 in the top of the first inning.

After an RBI single by Evansville tied up the game in the bottom of the first inning, Hitz answered the bell in the top of the third inning. Her deep sacrifice fly to center field scored Fortner from third to give the Shockers back the lead 2-1.

Evansville responded in the bottom of the fourth inning, regaining the lead off of a double and a single to put the Purple Aces up 3-2.

Sophomore Kelsey Sterneker came into pitch relief for Brooks in the fifth inning, striking out three Evansville batters, allowing one hit. The Shockers, however, were unable to get a hit in the final three innings of the game, ending in a 3-2 defeat.

Wichita State (21-16, 7-5) next travels to Columbia, Missouri, for a double-header against No. 16 Missouri on Wednesday. The Shockers return home for conference play, with a weekend series against Bradley starting with a double-header starting at noon at Saturday at Wilkins Stadium.