Hoosiers Rally In Seventh Only To Fall In The Ninth at Evansville
April 1, 2009
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The Indiana softball team battled all the way back from a three run deficit in the top of the seventh to tie the game but the Evansville Aces got a walk-off solo home run from Kristen Shirk in the bottom of the ninth inning to give UE the 4-3 win. Sara Olson hit her fourth home run of the season and Emily Bergeson tied the game with a two-run single with two outs in the seventh to lead the Indiana (5-24) offense.
Evansville (8-18) broke into the scoring column in the first inning on an RBI single with two outs by pitcher Kylie Wagner. They added another run in the bottom of the third inning when Krista Price doubled down the left field line and came around to score on a single to center field by Jennifer Stahlhut to make it 2-0 in the Aces favor.
The Aces were looking for more in the bottom of the fourth after the first two batters reached with base hits against Ashley Hobbs, who came on in relief of Olson. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third with one outt before Hobbs hit Kelci Alsip with a pitch to load the bases for the and the top of the UE lineup. The Aces leadoff batter, Krista Price, stepped looking to blow the game open with a base hit. Price was batting .409 with five home runs and 12 RBI coming into the game, but Hobbs was able to get a pitch in on her hands to force a popup in foul territory down the first base line that Olson made a diving catch on for the second out of the inning. Kristen Shirk stepped in with two outs but grounded out to Stephanie Pellerito at third to end the threat with no damage done and the score 2-0 in favor of the Aces.
The Hoosiers first threat of the game came in the top of the sixth inning when Kelli Ritchison placed a single through the left side of the infield with one out. Emily Bergeson stepped in and crushed the first pitch she saw deep down the left field line but it hooked foul as it cleared the fence for a long strike. Evansville pitcher Kylie Wagner then stayed on the outside corner and was able to come back and strike out Bergeson for the second out of the inning. Brittany Stein followed with a sharp single to right field that advanced Ritchison to third base for Jennifer Glueckert. But Wagner once again got the job done by inducing a weak ground ball back to the circle to strand the runners at first and third.
The Aces increased their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the inning when Annie Vincelett dropped a home run just over the left field fence for her first home run of the season.
Indiana came to the plate in the top of the seventh needing three runs to force extra innings and got started on the right foot with a leadoff home run from Sara Olson, a deep drive over the center field fence. The next two batters were retired by Wagner (4-8), leaving the Hoosiers just one out to play with. Kelsey Stander reached first on an infield hit and then stole second base, her second of the game and ninth of the year. Heather Nelson followed by getting in an 0-2 count before eventually drawing a walk to extend the inning. Kelli Ritchison stepped in an hit a ground ball to third base that was bobbled, allowing all the runners to advance a base and keeping the Hoosiers' hopes alive for Bergeson. The senior was in an 0-2 count and got a change up on the next pitch and was able to stay back and hit a soft single into center field to plate Stander from third and Nelson from second on a very close play at the plate to tie the game.
Evansville quickly regained the momentum in the bottom of the seventh, as the first two batters reached base via base hits against Olson, who re-entered the game in the circle to start the inning. However, it was Olson (4-6) that shutdown the UE bats from there, with a little help from her defense. The first out was recorded by Nelson in left field, making a running basket catch in foul territory. That was followed by a tremendous catch up against the backstop by catcher Brittany Stein on a popup for the second out before Olson induced a groundout to second base to retire the side.
Neither team mounted a threat in the eighth inning before Shirks shot in the bottom of the ninth won the game.
For the game, Indiana collected six hits but were aided by three Evansville errors to strand eight runners on base while the Aces left nine on the base paths. The pair of stolen bases by Stander increased her total to nine for the season in nine opportunities. For her career, she is now a perfect 21-for-21 after going 12-for-12 at Tennessee a season ago.
Olson suffered the loss for the Hoosiers, going 5.1 innings and giving up three runs, two earned, on seven hits. Ashley Hobbs, who transferred to Indiana from Evansville at the start of the season, pitched 3.0 innings and allowed one run on five hits. Wagner got the complete game win for Evansville, surrendering three runs, one earned, on six hits and three walks.
The Hoosiers jump back into conference play this weekend with a pair of games against No. 8 Northwestern on the road.
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