ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Rockford University softball team (0-2) opened its season on Saturday with a pair of neutral site games against the Ripon College Red Hawks (1-0) and the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds (2-0). It was a difficult first day for the Regents, as Rockford was shutout in both games, falling 4-0 to Ripon and 8-0 to UW-Eau Claire. The Regents did have multiple chances to score against the Red Hawks, but were unable to come up with a key hit with runners in scoring position.
Ripon College 4 Rockford University 0
- The Regents first scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the first inning. Gretchen Schrubbe (Elgin, Ill.) recorded Rockford's first hit of the season, with a one-out single into center field. Schrubbe would then steal second and advance to third on a passed ball. Unfortunately, the Red Hawks induced a pop up to short to end the Regent threat and keep the game scoreless heading into the second.
- Ripon used a pair of hits in the top of the second, including a two-out RBI double to grab an early 1-0 lead.
- Rockford would again put a runner in scoring position with one out in the bottom half of the second inning. Brittany Bihun (Schaumburg, Ill.) ripped a one-out single into center and then advanced to second on a Rylee Klema (Mendota, Ill.) walk. However, the Red Hawks were again able to wiggle out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
- The Regents had another scoring opportunity in the bottom half of the third inning. Schrubbe reached on an error by the pitcher and then advanced to second on the error, giving Rockford a runner on second with one out. Schrubbe then took third on a passed ball to give the Regents their best scoring opportunity thus far. Once again though, Ripon worked its way out of the jam, this time via a strikeout and a flyout to maintain its 1-0 lead.
- It remained a one-run game until the top of the fifth inning. The Red Hawks strung together four hits in the frame, scoring two runs and extending their lead to 3-0.
- Rockford had a chance to respond in the bottom half of the inning with runners on the corners and just one out. Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.) led off the inning with a single, followed by a sacrifice bunt and an Annaka Bartz (Rockton, Ill.) single. Unfortunately, Rockford once again stranded both runners, as the score remained 3-0.
- The Red Hawks extended their lead to 4-0 off a pair of hits in the top of the sixth inning.
- Rockford had one more scoring chance in the bottom of the sixth. After an error allowed the Regents' leadoff hitter to reach base, Brittany Bihun reached on an infield single to give Rockford runners on first and second with one out. However, the Red Hawks struck out the final two batters of the inning to end the threat.
- Both teams went down in order in the seventh as Ripon hung on for the 4-0 win.
UW-Eau Claire 8 Rockford University 0
- The Blugolds jumped out to quick 3-0 lead after one inning of play. UW-Eau Claire used a trio of hits, including a pair of RBI doubles to take the early advantage.
- Sophomore Brittany Bihun continued her hot hitting in the top of the second. Bihun roped her third single of the day, giving the Regents their first base runner of the game. Unfortunately, Bihun was left stranded as the Blugolds maintained their 3-0 lead after two innings of play.
- UW-Eau Claire tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the third to leap out to a commanding 7-0 advantage. The Blugolds tallied just two hits in the inning, but were able to take advantage of three walks and two hit by pitches to scratch across the four runs.
- The top of the fourth inning got off to a good start for the Regents as Emily Cox (Erie, Ill.) led off the frame with a single into left field. However, Cox was unable to advance, as the Blugolds retired the next three batters to end the threat.
- UW-Eau Claire would tack on an additional run in the bottom of the fourth en route to an 8-0 win.
- Brittany Bihun went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
- Gretchen Schrubbe, Annaka Bartz and Sammi Russell all had one hit.
- Rylee Klema fired a complete game in her first collegaite outing. Klema allowed four runs and struck out two.
- Brittany Bihun finished the game 1-for-2.
- Emily Cox was also 1-for-2.
- Rylee Klema and McCathran Andrew (Rockford, Ill.) each drew a walk.
- Rylee Klema came in and tossed the final two innings of the game. She allowed just one run on one hit and struck out two.
The Rockford University softball team returns to the diamond on Sunday, March 3 for a pair of games in Rochester, Minnesota. The Regents open with St. Olaf at 2 PM followed by fourth-ranked St. Thomas at 4 PM.