FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Rockford University softball team (5-5) split a pair of extra-inning games on Wednesday against the Kenyon College Ladies (12-3) and the Alfred State College Pioneers (2-6). The Regents began the day facing Kenyon in what was yet another pitchers' duel. The Regents and Ladies were scoreless through seven innings before both teams broke through in the eighth. Rockford tallied a single run in the top half of the frame, before Kenyon had the game-winning walk-off two-run double for the 2-1 win. Game two was more of a high-scoring affair. The teams combined for 12 runs over the eight innings, with the Regents scoring two runs in the top of the eighth for the 7-5 victory.
Kenyon College 2 Rockford University 1 (8 Innings)
- Game one on Wednesday was once again dominated by outstanding pitching. The Regents and Ladies combined to store just three runs off a total of nine hits in eight innings. However, both teams did have chances to score early on.
- Rockford's first scoring opportunity came in the top of the first inning. Annaka Bartz (Rockton, Ill.) and Emily Cox (Erie, Ill.) strung together back-to-back two-out singles, to put runners on first and second. Unfortunately, the two-out rally ended there, as the Ladies got the next batter to fly out to right to end the inning.
- Kenyon opened the bottom half of the first with a hit batsman and a single to put runners on first and second with no one out. However, RU pitcher Rylee Klema (Mendota, Ill.) buckled down and retired three of the next four batters, to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
- With the RU offense unable to find its rhythm over the next few innings, the Regents turned to Klema to keep them in the game. Klema retired 12 straight hitters between the second and the fifth inning, including retiring the side in order from the third through the fifth.
- Rockford's second scoring opportunity of the day came in the fifth when Gretchen Schrubbe (Elgin, Ill.) crushed a two-out double. However, Kenyon was able to get the next batter to ground out to end the threat.
- Kenyon's next scoring opportunity came in the bottom half of the sixth, with runners on second and third and just one out. Fortunately, Rylee Klema again rose to the challenge, retiring the next two batters via a strikeout and a pop up to first, to end the inning.
- The game then headed to extras after both teams went down in order in the seventh.
- With the International Tie Breaker Rule in effect, each team got to start the eighth inning with a runner on second base.
- The Regents wasted little time taking advantage, as Gretchen Schrubbe began the inning with an RBI single back up the middle, her third hit of the game, to give Rockford a 1-0 lead. However, Rockford was unable to score any additional runs and took just a one-run advantage into the bottom of the eighth.
- Unfortunately, the Ladies also found their offensive rhythm in the eighth. After a leadoff walk put runners on first and second, Kenyon's Sara Campagna collected her third hit of the day, with a game-winning two-run double.
Rockford University 7 Alfred State College 5 (8 Innings)
- Game two got off to a bit of slow start offensively, as the Regents and Pioneers combined to score just one run over the first three innings.
- Alfred State manufactured a run in the bottom of the third off just one hit to take an early 1-0 lead.
- The score remained the same until the top of the sixth when Rockford scored three runs off three hits and capitalized on a Pioneer error to take a 3-1 lead.
- Annaka Bartz jump-started the RU offense with a leadoff triple to right field. One batter later, Emily Cox lined a single into left to tie the game at 1-1. The Regents would then take a 2-1 lead courtesy of an Alfred State error. Rockford's final run of the inning came off an Allison Kaiser (South Elgin, Ill.) RBI single.
- The Pioneers responded with a single run of their own off two hits in the bottom half of the sixth to cut the Regent lead in half.
- Rockford then answered right back with two more runs in the top of the seventh to extend its lead to 5-2.
- Gretchen Schrubbe began the inning with a leadoff single up the middle, and then stole second to work her way into scoring position. Two batters later, Annaka Bartz drove in Schrubbe with an RBI single to right. Bartz was then able to maneuver her way over to third base and would eventually score on an Emily Cox sacrifice fly.
- Unfortunately, Alfred State was able to tie the game with three runs off just one hit in the bottom of the seventh. The Pioneers used a walk, a hit batsman and a Rockford error along with the hit to score their three runs and send the game into extras.
- Just like in the game earlier in the day, the International Tie Breaker Rule was in effect, so each team started the eighth inning with a runner on second base.
- After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner over to third, McCathran Andrew (Rockford, Ill.) came through with a huge RBI single to center, to give Rockford a 6-5 lead. Andrew would then steal second and advance to third on a Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.) single to right. Two batters later, Brittany Bihun (Schaumburg, Ill.) delivered a clutch two-out RBI single to center, to put the Regents out in front 7-5 heading to the bottom of the eighth.
- RU pitcher Rylee Klema took it from there, retiring three of the four batters she faced to secure the 7-5 Rockford win.
- Rylee Klema threw her seventh complete game of the season. Klema went seven plus innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run while striking out five.
- Gretchen Schrubbe went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI to lead the RU offensive attack.
- Annaka Bartz and Emily Cox each had one hit.
Alfred State College
- Annaka Bartz went 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI.
- McCathran Andrew finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
- Gretchen Schrubbe was 2-for-5 with a run scored.
- Emily Cox went 1-for-2 with two RBIs, a runs scored and a walk.
- Rylee Klema tossed her eighth complete game of the year to improve to 5-4 on the season. The freshman allowed four earned runs off five hits and struck out five.
The Rockford University softball team is set to play its final two games in Florida on Thursday, March 14. The Regents open with Western Connecticut State at 9 AM followed by St. Joseph at 11 AM EDT.