PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Freshman Sara Shields struck out a career-high ten batters in a two-hit shutout to give the Lake Erie College softball team a split of a nonconference doubleheader with traditional regional rival Gannon University at Kiwanis Recreation Park on Tuesday (April 12). Behind Shields the Storm rebounded from a 6-2 loss in game one for a 1-0 victory in game two.
The game two win snapped a 10-game losing streak for Lake Erie (8-24).
Shields and Gannon's Erica Bartholow were locked in a pitchers' duel, with each allowing one hit in the first three innings. Back-to-back hits opened the bottom of the fourth for Lake Erie and the Storm was able to get on the board when senior third baseman Brittany Sostre (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge)scored from second as Gannon was unable to turn a double play on a fielder's choice from junior catcher Ali Hemming (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin).
In the fifth, Lake Erie got a lead off walk from senior outfielder Danielle Finkler (Chardon, Ohio/Berkshire) and freshman first baseman Juliana Brotzman (Madison, Ohio/Madison, Ohio) followed with a double to left center, but Lake Erie was unable to convert the rally into any runs with Sostre also reaching base via intentional walk.
But the one run proved to be enough as Shields (4-10) only allowed one runner past second base. She walked only one hitter and struck out the final four batters.
In game one, the Storm got off to a strong start when singled in freshman first baseman Jeniffer Gratz (Richwood, Ohio/North Union). The score would stay that way until the bottom of the fifth as freshman pitcher Dawn Ondercin (Sheffield, Ohio/Brookside) was masterful through five innings, only allowing a pair of base runners. In the fifth inning, Lake Erie made the score 2-0, when freshman second baseman Krista Haley (Holland, Ohio/Springfield Holland) hit a two out double and Finkler brought her home with a abse hit.
The top of the sixth is when things fell apart for the Storm as a walk and three straight singles plated one run and set the Knights up with a bases loaded, one out situation. Gannon second baseman Kirstie Cortazzo connected and her grand slam was the difference in the game. The Knights scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh for the final 6-2 margin.
Ondercin suffered the loss, allowing seven hits and five runs in six innings of work while striking out four. Sostre had the only multi-hit game for Lake Erie as the Storm managed six hits as a team.
Lake Erie returns to action on Friday as it begins a GLIAC cross-divisional road week with a pair of contests at Saginaw Valley State, beginning at 3:30 p.m.