April 10, 2017

Power Pitching Waylays Wash U

The University of Chicago softball team (13–8) took advantage of the beautiful weather this past weekend to take the series against UAA rival Wash U (14–9) three games to one. 

On a perfect, 70-degree day with clear skies, the Bears scored all three of their runs in the first inning, but the UChicago pitching staff was able to quickly find its rhythm to prevent any further damage. However, the Maroons were unable to bridge the gap, as their bats were kept in check by the opposing pitchers, connecting on only four hits and being held scoreless. The South Siders threatened in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with two singles and a walk, before ultimately flying out to end the inning with runners stranded. 

In game two, first-year Megan Stoppelman continued her scoreless streak from the start of the third inning in the previous game into the fourth inning before finally allowing a run in five innings pitched. This time, the Maroons quickly dropped three runs on Wash U with Stoppelman, second-year outfielder Serena Moss and fourth-year third base Maggie O’Hara each earning RBI. Offensively, UChicago totaled six hits and two steals. Third-year Molly Moran came into the second game for the final two innings to close out the game. 

Day two of doubleheaders featured strong pitching and similar score lines, with the Maroons coming out on top 3–1 and 4–0, respectively. In game one, Wash U capitalized on a second inning error to drive in a run, but that would be the extent of their offense, as starting pitcher Moran struck out seven in just as many innings. UChicago produced a solid third inning, bringing home two runners and adding one more run in the sixth. Second-year outfielder Maeve Garvey accounted for half of the team’s six hits in the game, going 3-for-3 with one RBI.

In the final match of the weekend, Moran and Stoppelman joined efforts to put away all of the Bears’s batters but three. Moran opened the game, and the first-year put it away in four innings of relief, gaining the win and elevating herself to 5–2 on the season. Second-year second base Colleen Bennett and fourth-year second base Anna Woolery went 3-for-3 and 2-for-2 respectively, accounting for five of the Maroons’ seven hits. 

“Our pitching staff, some clutch hitting, and solid defense really helped us go 3–1 against Wash U. Staff especially did a great job keeping hitters off balance. I also think that our focus and confidence, which has been continually improving throughout the season, was an important part of our success,” Woolery said.

“We stranded a decent amount of runners this weekend, so more timely hitting and execution will be something to improve upon going into Wheaton. It’s great that we’re getting lots of base runners, but stringing more hits together and bringing runners home is going to be huge in tight games,” she said.

This Thursday, the Maroons will take on Wheaton College (5–19) at home in a double-header game. The Thunder had lost seven games straight before beating North Park University in the second game of their duals. They will face Carthage College on Tuesday before taking on the Maroons in a two-day turnaround.