NAPLES, Fla. - The Rockford University softball team improved to 4-4 on the season with impressive wins today over the Blackburn College Beavers (2-3) and the RIT Tigers (3-3). Rockford has now won four straight games for the first time since the 2011 season. In the Regents' 2-1 win over Blackburn, Emily Cox (Erie, Ill.) had what turned out to the be the game-winning hit, with a two-run single in the top of the sixth inning. Rockford's timely hitting continued in its 6-1 win over RIT, as the Regents used a pair of three-run innings to pick up the win. Freshman Rylee Klema (Mendota, Ill.) was once again a force inside the circle, pitching all 14 innings and earning both wins.
Rockford University 2 Blackburn College 1
- RU pitcher Rylee Klema was once again the story of the game, as she had the Beavers off balance all day long. At one point, Klema retired eight straight batters and allowed just two runners into scoring position through five plus innings.
- The Rockford offense broke through with a pair of runs off three hits in the top of the sixth to take the lead. Gretchen Schrubbe (Elgin, Ill.) and Annaka Bartz (Rockton, Ill.) got things started with a pair of singles to put runners on the corners with one out. After Annaka Bartz stole second to put two runners in scoring position, Emily Cox came through with a huge two-run single, to give Rockford a 2-0 lead.
- The Regents were then able to load the bases with two outs following walks by Destiny Darmon (Byron, Ill.) and Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.). However, the Beavers struck out the final hitter of the inning keep the damage at just two runs.
- Blackburn then answered back with a single run in the bottom half of the inning. The Beavers used a pair of hits including a two-out RBI double into right field to cut the RU lead in half. Fortunately, Rockford limited the damage to just one run, as Klema got the next hitter to pop up to third to end the inning.
- Rylee Klema then retired the Beavers in order in the seventh to secure the 2-1 victory.
Rockford University 6 RIT 1
- RIT jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Tigers used a pair of hits and took advantage of one Rockford error to score an unearned run. However, the damage could have been worse, as RIT had runners on corners with only out. Fortunately, Klema was able to induce an inning-ending double play, limiting the damage to just the one run.
- The game remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth, thanks in part to an excellent defensive play by Rockford in the top half of the frame. With two outs and a runner on second, the Tigers ripped a single into center field to seemingly make it a 2-0 game. However, Rockford's Destiny Darmon came up throwing and gunned the runner out at the plate, to end the inning and keep it a one-run game.
- The Regents then loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning after a pair of walks and a Destiny Darmon infield single. One batter later, Dylan King (Constantine, Mich.) roped a two-run single into center to give her team its first lead of the game. Rockford would add one more run off a Sammi Russell RBI groundout to take a 3-1 lead into the fifth.
- The game remained 3-1 until the bottom of the sixth when Rockford added three more runs. Rockford quickly loaded the bases with no outs off two hit batsman and an Emily Cox single. After a wild pitch scored the first run of the inning, Sammi Russell belted an RBI single into right to extend the RU lead to 5-1. Rockford then tacked on one more run off aggressive and smart base running in a first and third situation.
- The five-run lead was more than enough for Klema, who wiggled out of a bit of a jam in the seventh to secure the 6-1 win.
- Rylee Klema was simply outstanding inside the circle for Rockford. The freshman allowed just one run on four hits and struck out nine batters with zero walks.
- Emily Cox led the Rockford attack at the plate. Cox finished 2-for-3 with what turned out to be the game-winning two-run single in the sixth inning.
- Annaka Bartz finished 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- Gretchen Schrubbe went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- Rylee Klema fired her sixth complete game in seven starts this season and improved to 4-3 inside the circle. Klema scattered eight hits in the game and allowed just one unearned run, while striking out two. Over the past four games, Klema is 4-0 with a 0.28 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 25 innings.
- Dylan King went 1-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and a run scored.
- Sammi Russell was also 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
- Destiny Darmon finished 1-for-2 with two runs scored.
- Emily Cox went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
The RU softball team returns to diamond on Wednesday, March 13 against Kenyon College and Alfred State. First pitch of the day is set for 9 AM EDT.