CHICAGO – The University of Chicago softball team displayed plenty of power on Thursday afternoon, cracking seven extra-base hits and three home runs in a doubleheader sweep of Aurora University by scores of 5-3 and 12-7.
The Maroons (13-7 record) faced tense moments in both contests with the Spartans (12-12 record). But timely bursts of offense, including a pair of back-to-back home runs from junior outfielder Maeve Garvey and sophomore catcher Holli Jones, gave the hosts a decisive edge. Garvey, not content with one highlight, duplicated her three-run shot a few innings later despite a stiff breeze blowing in from right field.
A gritty complete-game effort from senior pitcher Molly Moran set the stage for the Maroons' come-from-behind victory in the first contest. Moran earned the win as she struck out seven while allowing only six hits and no earned runs.
In the second game, junior Jordynne Prussak picked up her sixth win of the season while sophomore Megan Stoppleman came on for the save.
Game One – UChicago 5, Aurora 3
The Maroons fell behind early after a pair of fielding errors led to two unearned runs in the top of the first. UChicago responded quickly in the bottom of the opening frame. After sophomore shortstop Emma Nelson singled and stole second to put herself in scoring position, Jones drove her in to put the hosts on the board.
Fielding troubles continued in the second as two more errors allowed Aurora to score a third unearned run and establish a 3-1 lead. But the Maroons buckled down defensively and would not allow another run.
After twice stranding the tying run on third, the Maroons finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning with a barrage of singles. Junior outfielder Serena Moss got things started with an infield hit before Collins moved her over to second with a base knock of her own. First-year outfielder Abby Hayes drove in Moss to even things up at three apiece, then her classmate Gabi Angellotti plated Collins to put UChicago in the lead. A deep sacrifice fly from junior first base Carly Schulz put the margin at 5-3 and an energized Maroon squad sent the Spartans down in order to finish the job.
UChicago totaled 10 hits and committed four errors. Collins and Hayes both went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Moran improved her season record to 6-3.
Game Two – UChicago 12, Aurora 7
The second game began in similar fashion, with UChicago facing a 2-0 deficit after the first inning. The Maroons would not have to wait long to equalize, as Hayes drove in Moss with a double before scoring herself on a throwing error in the bottom of the second.
The third inning turned into an offensive showcase for the Maroons as Garvey bashed a three-run homer to center that skipped off the top of the fence. She was immediately followed by a solo shot from Jones. Well-hit sacrifice flies from Hayes and Angellotti put the home team ahead 8-2.
Aurora would not go down without a fight. The Spartans rallied in the top of the fifth as a five-run outburst cut the deficit to just one. The tying run reached third and the go-ahead run stood on second, but Stoppleman ended the threat with a strikeout and groundout.
The Maroons made sure of victory in the bottom of the sixth as Garvey launched her second three-run homer of the day. Another RBI double from Collins set the final tally at 12-7.
Stoppelman concluded the three-inning save by retiring the final four batters she faced. Her pitching line included two hits, no runs, two walks and one strikeout. Prussak hurled the opening four innings and maintained her perfect record at 6-0.
The Maroon offense tallied nine hits and took advantage of five Aurora errors. Garvey hit 2-for-3 with six RBI, and Collins was 2-for-4 with one RBI.
- Friday, April 13 @ 2:00 PM – University of Wisconsin-Whitewater at UChicago (DH)