WATERTOWN, Wis. - The Rockford University softball team (4-20) completed its first sweep of the season with a pair of impressive road wins, 7-0 and 16-3, over the Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats (0-12). The Regents never trailed in either game as Rockford dominated Maranatha in all facets. Rockford outhit the Sabercats 17-6 and held them without a run until the second inning of game two.
Freshman pitcher Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.) dazzled inside the circle in the opener. Russell fired her first complete game shutout of the season and struck out a career-high eight batters. The freshman was in control the entire game as she allowed a season-low three hits over her seven innings of work. Russell becomes just the third Rockford pitcher to throw a complete game shutout over the last four seasons.
Offensively the Regents broke the scoreless tie with a single run in the fourth inning. McCathran Andrew (Rockford, Ill.) led off the inning a triple into right field to give the Regents a runner in scoring position with no one out. Two batters later, Abigail Wellwood (Rockford, Ill.) dropped down an excellent sacrifice bunt to score Andrew and put the Regents out in front 1-0.
Rockford would put the game away over the next couple of inning with two runs in the fifth and four in the sixth. In the fifth, the Regents did an excellent job being patient at the plate and taking advantage of Maranatha miscues. Rockford drew three walks, was hit by a pitch and capitalized a fielding error to score their two runs, all without recording a hit. In the sixth, Rockford used two hits to score its four runs and again showed excellent discipline at the plate with three more walks and two hit batsman. Allison Kaiser (South Elgin, Ill.) and Gretchen Schrubbe (Elgin, Ill.) opened the inning with a pair of walks to put runners on first and second with one out. Senior Alex Storey (Dexter, Mich.) then cleared the bases with a two-run triple to center to put the Regents out in front 5-0. After a Brittany Bihun (Schaumburg, Ill.) walk and a Sammi Russell hit by pitch loaded the bases, McCathran Andrew singled into right scoring one run with the other coming in on a Sabercat error to give Rockford a 7-0 win.
The Regents offense in game one was led by the duo of Alex Storey and McCathran Andrew. Storey finished 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and two RBIs. Andrew tallied her second multi-hit game of the year, going 2-for-2 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI. She also showed great discipline at the plate, drawing a pair of walks.
The Regents continued the momentum they built in game one to easily defeat the Sabercats in the nightcap. Rockford jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead thanks to two runs in the first and three in the second. Gretchen Schrubbe started the game off by getting hit by a pitch, and then worked her way around the bases, advancing to third with no one out. Two batters later, Alex Storey drove in Schrubbe to put the Regents up 1-0. After a Sammi Russell walk and a wild pitch gave the Regents a runner on second with two outs, McCathran Andrew laced her second triple of the day to score Russell and make it a 2-0 lead after one. The second inning followed a similar pattern as Rockford needed just two hits to score three runs and extend its lead to 5-0. Emily Johannes (Eau Claire, Wis.) began the inning with a walk and then worked her way around the bases via wild pitches before eventually scoring on an error by the catcher. Following yet another walk, Allison Kaiser and Alex Storey strung together back-to-back hits with Storey driving in a run. Two batters later, McCathran Andrew would drive in her second run of the game as Rockford took a commanding 5-0 advantage.
Rockford would continue to build upon its lead with a single run in the third and six more runs in the fourth. The Regents did not even need a hit in the third to score their run, as they used a pair of walks and hit by pitches to extend their lead to 6-0. In the fourth, Rockford strung together five hits to score its six runs. Shannon LeGath (Sturtevant, Wis.) got the RU hit parade started with a leadoff single down the right field line. Two batters later, Emily Johannes singled to center to score LeGath and Wellwood as the Regents continued to build upon their lead. The hits kept coming, as a couple of batters later Gretchen Schrubbe crushed a two-run double into left center to make it a 10-0 Rockford lead. Alex Storey and LeGath plated the final two runs of the inning, Storey via an RBI single and LeGath with a sacrifice fly.
The Regents would finish off the game with four more runs in the fifth en route to the 16-3 win. McCathran Andrew forced in the first run of the inning with a walk. Shannon LeGath then drove in her second run in as many innings with infield single. Alex Storey hit in Rockford's final runs of the day with a two-run single into center.
Inside the circle it was Abigail Wellwood who pitched her second strong game in as many appearances. Wellwood picked up the win, throwing all five innings for her second complete game in a row. The senior allowed just three hits over her five innings of work, while striking out a career-high six batters.
The RU softball team returns to the diamond on Saturday, April 14 at Aurora University. First pitch is set for noon.