KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second time this season, the UMKC softball team (13-27) swept its opponent when it opened the twin bill with a 6-3 victory over South Dakota State (14-27) and sealed the sweep with a 3-2 walk-off win in the second game.
“We played really well today and I was really proud of them for making it happen during the game,” commented head coach Meredith Smith Neal. “We struggled a little bit, but we really needed to get back to what we do well. Right now we need to prove to ourselves that when another team scores runs, we can score them also.”
The Jackrabbits jumped to an early 2-0 lead courtesy of a two-run home run over the left field wall in the first inning of the first game. The Roos responded in the third inning, scoring three runs on three singles by Maegan Rollow (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Kendra Leach (Easton, Kan.) and Morgan Byrn (Lawrence, Kan.).
Lia Lombardini (Chesterton, Ind.) hit a lead-off single in the bottom of the fourth inning to continue UMKC’s momentum. A sac bunt by Kelsey Volle (Hartsburg, Mo.) advanced the runner, bringing Rollow to the plate. The sophomore tallied her second hit of the day, and stole second, to put two Roos in scoring position. Ashlin O’Brien (Fond du Lac, Wis.) singled down the left-field line to bring home Lombardini and give UMKC the 4-2 lead.
A pitching change by the Jacks didn’t trouble the Roos, as O’Brien stole second and Rollow stole home. A two-out double by Leach gave UMKC the 6-2 cushion going into the fifth.
SDSU responded in the fifth inning, scoring one run on two hits, but UMKC pitcher Lynsey Conner (Peggs, Okla.) would give up just a single hit in the final two innings for her fifth win of the season.
In the second game of the doubleheader, back-to-back doubles by the Jacks put SDSU ahead 1-0 after two innings.
Leach made her way around the bases after hitting a one-out single in the fourth. Teammate Faith Willis (Kearney, Mo.) was dealt a two-out walk to load the bases for UMKC. Lombardini followed with a single in the next at-bat to score Bri Sims (Rowlett, Texas) and give the Roos a 2-1 lead after four.
The Jacks knotted the game at two-all in the top of the sixth, but a lead-off triple by Sydney Garcia (Kansas City, Mo.) in the bottom of the seventh put the freshman in scoring position with no outs. Leach stepped up to the plate and bombed a sac fly to center field, giving UMKC the 3-2 walk-off victory.
UMKC will resume Western Athletic Conference play at league-leading New Mexico State this weekend.
– UMKC –