In a doubleheader full of game-changing plays, the University of Chicago softball team split their doubleheader with Kalamazoo (MI). The Maroons won the first game, which was dominated by first-year pitcher Beth Regnerus and capped off by a dramatic walk-off from first-year outfielder Lainey Hughes. The team dropped the second game, as the Hornets’ offense stayed hot throughout the game.
In the first game, the Maroons carried control of the game into the final inning behind Regnerus’ accurate pitching and just enough offense. Regnerus proved unflappable on plate during the first six innings, and first-year catcher Katie O’Donnell put the Maroons up 2–0 with a home run in the bottom of the third.
The Hornets, though, would not go away without a fight. Kalamazoo broke up Regnerus’ no-hitter bid with a leadoff single, and an error derailed a potential double-play for the Maroons. With two already on base, Kalamazoo’s Keelin McManus hit a bomb over the fence. With the three-run homer, the Maroons’ lead disappeared and the team entered the bottom of the seventh in need of some offensive heroics, which several underclassmen readily provided.
First-year Savannah Pinedo led off the inning with a home run over the foul pole that brought that knotted the score up and gave the Maroons back their momentum. Second-year Skye Collins registered a single in the next at bat to get on base and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Then, Hughes stepped to the plate for the first time that afternoon as pinch hitter. In a clutch performance, she smacked the ball into the right-center gap for a double and the walk-off win, 4–3.
The game proceeded at a brisk pace, finishing in roughly an hour thanks to two strong pitching performances. Regnerus recorded the complete game and collected the win, improving her record to 5–3. The team tallied seven hits to one error and moved to 7–10 on the season.
The second game saw Kalamazoo take an early lead and make a late push to secure the win, 9-5. The Hornets connected on a sacrifice fly to go up 1–0 in the top of the second inning, but the Maroons responded in the same inning to take a 3–1 lead. Fourth-year first baseman Carly Schulz nabbed an RBI double and second-year Abby Hayes added an RBI single.
The Maroons lost the lead in the third inning. First-year pitcher Olivia Dunne struggled to find a tightly-called strike zone, and the Hornets went up 4–3. Kalamazoo kept up their hot offense, though, in the fourth inning after a pitching change for Chicago. Two more runs in the inning extended the Kalamazoo lead to 6–3.
Behind a RBI single from first-year Maddy Mudrick and another home run, this time from second-year catcher Gabi Angellotti, the Maroons carved into the score to make it 6–5 entering the sixth inning. The Hornets went up 9–5 in the sixth inning, but in the bottom of the inning, it looked like Chicago would once again lessen the deficit with the bases loaded and fourth-year power hitter Maeve Garvey at the plate. But a pop-out fly ended the inning without a score.
Both teams were shut out in the final inning, and the Maroons lost by the final score of 9–5. On the game, Hayes went 3–4, while Schulz was 2–2 and Angellotti 2–4. Dunne fell to 1–3 on the year, while fourth-year pitcher Jordyne Prussak and Regnerus appeared in relief.
The Maroons will look to bounce back with another slate of games this week. The team takes on Finlandia in a home doubleheader on Tuesday, April 9 before travelling to Bloomington, IL over the weekend for the Illinois Wesleyan tournament. The team hopes to improve on its 7–11 record in the final several weeks of the season and, with a streak of wins, could push for postseason competition.