NAPLES, Fla. - The Rockford University softball team (2-4) kicked off its eight-game Florida trip on Sunday with a pair of wins over the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights (1-2) and the SUNY Canton Roos (1-1). The Regents opened with a 5-1 over New Jersey City University followed by an impressive 9-1 win in five innings against SUNY Canton. Rockford's game against New Jersey City was a pitchers' duel until the top of the seventh, when the Regents scored four runs to secure the victory. In game two, the Regents used a four-run first and a five-run fourth to roll to an easy 9-1 win over SUNY Canton.
Rockford University 5 New Jersey City University 1
- The game between the Regents and Gothic Knights was a pitchers' duel for the first six innings. The two teams combined to score just two runs, as the game entered the seventh tied at 1-1.
- Rockford pitcher Rylee Klema (Mendota, Ill.) kept the Gothic Knights off balance for the entire game. The freshman had at least one strikeout in six of the seven innings, including striking out four straight between the fourth and fifth innings.
- Fortunately, the Regents were able to give her some run support in the top of the third inning. Junior Annaka Bartz (Rockton, Ill.) belted a solo home run to break the scoreless tie and put Rockford out in front 1-0.
- However, one of the biggest moments of the game came in the bottom half of the inning when it seemed as though the Gothic Knights would either tie the game or take the lead. New Jersey City loaded the bases with no one out and had the middle of the order coming to the plate. Fortunately, Klema was able to dig deep and work herself out of the jam. The freshman got the three hitter in the order to flyout to center, before inducing a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat and keep it a 1-0 RU lead.
- New Jersey City would eventually tie the game though in the fifth inning. The Gothic Knights took advantage of a Rockford error and scored an unearned run to tie the game at 1-1.
- The score remained the same until the Regents blew the game wide open with four runs in the top of the seventh.
- Each of the first four batters reached base safely including an RBI single off the bat of Emily Cox (Erie, Ill.) to give the Regents a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.) put the game away with a two-run single into right, giving her team a 4-1 advantage. Rockford would add an additional insurance run later in the inning on a Brittany Bihun (Schaumburg, Ill.) RBI walk.
- The four-run lead was more than enough for Rylee Klema, who struck out the first batter in the bottom half of the frame, and then induced her second double play of the game, to secure the 5-1 win.
Rockford University 9 State University of New York Canton 1 (5 Innings)
- The Rockford University offense came out firing on all cylinders with four runs in the bottom of the first inning. Following a Gretchen Schrubbe (Elgin, Ill.) walk and a Brittany Bihun single, Annaka Bartz drove in the game's first run on an RBI groundout. Rockford would then load the bases later in the inning thanks to another walk and a Destiny Darmon (Byron, Ill.) infield single. One batter later, Rylee Klema cleared the bases with a clutch two-out, three-run double into right center field to give her team a 4-0 lead heading into the second.
- The four-run first was more than enough for Klema who picked up her second win of the day. Klema fanned at least one hitter in each of her four innings, including two in both the second and the fourth. The Roos never really threatened to score while Klema was in the circle, as they failed to get a runner past second base.
- The Regents would blow the game wide open with five more runs in the fourth.
- Rockford began the inning with back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second. One batter later, the Regents capitalized on a SUNY Canton throwing error to score their first run of the inning. McCathran Andrew (Rockford, Ill.) then knocked in her first run of the season with an RBI single up the middle. One batter later, Gretchen Schrubbe laced a two-run double down the right field line to make it an 8-0 Rockford lead.
- The Regents would add one more run later in the inning on a Karyssa Myhres (South Beloit, Ill.) pinch-hit sacrifice fly.
- The Roos were able to scratch across one unearned run in the top of the fifth, but it was not enough as Rockford cruised to an easy 9-1 win in five innings.
New Jersey City University
- Freshman pitcher Rylee Klema was simply outstanding inside the circle. Klema went all seven innings for her fourth complete game of the season. The freshman scattered seven hits, allowed one unearned run and struck out a season-high ten batters.
- Annaka Bartz led the Rockford offensive attack. Bartz broke the scoreless tie in the third with the team's first home run of the season. She finished the game 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
- Emily Cox gave the Regents the lead for good with an RBI single in the seventh. Cox went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Sammi Russell then put the game away with a two-run single later in the inning. Russell finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and a run scored.
- Dylan King also went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- Rylee Klema was once again spectacular in the circle. Klema tossed four strong innings, allowing no runs on four hits while striking out six. Klema also went 1-for-1 at the plate with a double, a walk and three runs driven in.
- Gretchen Schrubbe went 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored.
- Destiny Darmon was 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored.
- McCathran Andrew finished 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Rockford University softball team returns to the field on Monday morning for a pair of games against Blackburn College and the Rochester Institute of Technology. First pitch is set for 9 AM local time.