NAPLES, Fla. - The Rockford University softball team (6-6) wrapped up its outstanding spring trip on Thursday with a pair of games against the Western Connecticut State University Colonials (6-2) and the University of St. Joseph Blue Jays (4-4). Game one was a bit of a struggle for the Regents as the Colonials scored in all five innings en route to an 11-0 win. Rockford rebounded nicely in game two and picked up an 8-3 win over St. Joseph. The Regents scored six of their eight runs in two innings, highlighted by an Emily Cox (Erie, Ill.) two-run home run. The win improved Rockford's record to 6-2 on its trip to The Sunshine State and also marked the best spring trip for the RU softball team since prior to joining the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference for the 2007 season.
Western Connecticut State University 11 Rockford 0 (5 Innings)
- It was a tough opening game for the Regents as they were unable to get anything going. Rockford recorded just three hits in the game and were held scoreless for the first time in Florida this season.
- Despite being shutout, Rockford did have a runner in scoring position in both the first and second innings.
- Brittany Bihun (Schaumburg, Ill.) ripped a one-out double in the bottom of the first to put herself in scoring position. However, the Colonials retired the next two batters to end the threat.
- Rockford again threatened in the second inning with runners on first and second following a Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.) walk and a Karyssa Myhres (South Beloit, Ill.) single back up the middle. Unfortunately, just like in the previous inning, the Colonials retired the next batter to keep the Regents scoreless.
- Western Connecticut State then blew the game wide open with seven runs over the next two innings en route to an 11-0 victory.
Rockford University 8 University of St. Joseph 3
- The Regents quickly put the previous game behind them as they came out hungry for a win in the team's final game in Florida.
- Rockford scored a run in the top of the first inning to grab an early 1-0 lead. The Regents put runners on first and second with no one out following a Gretchen Schrubbe (Elgin, Ill.) walk and a Brittany Bihun single. One batter later, Emily Cox drove in Schrubbe with an RBI single to right.
- The Regents extended their lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the third. Annaka Bartz (Rocton, Ill.) started the two-out rally with a double to left center field. Junior Emily Cox then belted her first home run of the season, making it a 3-0 Rockford advantage.
- The score remained the same until Rockford used a four-run fifth inning to blow the game wide open.
- Gretchen Schrubbe led off the inning with a home run to deep left field, her first of the season. Brittany Bihun and Annaka Bartz then strung together back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with no one out. Two batters later, Rockford would score two runs off a Blue Jay throwing error and extend its lead to 6-0. Rockford's final run of the inning came one batter later off a Destiny Darmon (Byron, Ill.) sacrifice fly.
- Seven runs were more than enough for Rockford's starting pitcher, Rylee Klema (Mendota, Ill.). Klema was nearly unhittable for much of the day, especially in the middle innings, when she struck out two batters in each inning from the second through the fifth.
- The Blue Jays would however, make one final push to get back into the game in the sixth inning. St. Joseph scored three runs off four hits including a two-run double and an RBI single, to make it a 7-3 game.
- Rockford responded with a solo run in the top of the seventh. Annaka Bartz, Emily Cox and Dylan King (Constantine, Mich.) strung together back-to-back-to-back singles, with King driving in Bartz to make it an 8-3 Rockford lead.
- Rylee Klema then slammed the door shut with a scoreless bottom of the seventh to secure the Regent victory.
Western Connecticut State University
- Brittany Bihun finished 1-for-2 with a double.
- McCathran Andrew (Rockford, Ill.) went 1-for-1 with a pinch-hit single.
- Karyssa Myhres was 1-for-2 at the plate.
University of St. Joseph
- Annaka Bartz finished a perfect 4-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and an RBI.
- Gretchen Schrubbe was a perfect 3-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored, an RBI and a walk.
- Emily Cox went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored.
- Brittany Bihun was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- Rylee Klema improved to 6-4 with her ninth complete game this season. Klema allowed just three runs, while striking out nine over her seven innings of work.
The Rockford University softball team returns to the diamond on Tuesday, March 19 at Beloit College. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 3 PM.