PAINESVILLE, OHIO – The Lake Erie College softball team dropped a pair of games Friday (March 23) to visiting Saginaw Valley State University in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener for both teams at Painesville Kiwanis Recreation Park.
The Cardinals (9-7, 2-0 GLIAC) won a close 2-0 pitchers' duel in the opener and then cruised in the nightcap, 8-0 in five innings.
In the opener, Jillian Williams struck out five and held the Storm (3-12, 0-2 GLIAC) to just a walk and a fourth-inning single by sophomore Juliana Brotzman (Madison, Ohio/Madison) in the complete game shutout. Two runners reached base with one out in the sixth, but Williams (2-6) escaped the jam by getting two straight pop ups.
For Lake Erie, sophomore Dawn Ondercin (Sheffield, Ohio/Brookside) was nearly as good as Williams. Ondercin allowed just one earned run on four hits in her seven innings. She walked one and struck out one but fell to 2-5 with her second straight tough-luck loss.
The Cardinals scored a run in the first and one in the sixth. Kailha Happ singled to start the game and came around to score when sophomore Jennifer Gratz (Richwood, Ohio/North Union) couldn't handle Natalie Wellman's single. Saginaw Valley added that second run on Kalie Burdick's sacrifice fly.
In game two, Lindsay Hayward doubled in Wellman in the bottom of the first and then the Cardinals broke the game wide open in the second, thanks in large part to three Storm errors. Saginaw Valley scored six unearned runs – all with two outs – to take a 7-0 lead. They added another run in the third.
Alexa Gehrls (7-1) struck out four in three hitless innings. Wellman finished with two hits, drove in two runs and scored twice to lead SVSU while Happ drove in three runs.
Redshirt freshman Maddi Klemp (Akron, Ohio/Coventry) reached on an error to start the game, but that was the extent of the Storm offense until the later innings when Brotzman and senior Ali Hemming (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) singled off reliever Jill Kaltz.
Senior Sam Ronde (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) allowed eight runs (two earned) on 10 hits in four innings and falls to 1-5.
The Storm's conference-opening weekend continues on Saturday, March 24, against Lake Superior State University. The games, which start at 1 p.m., are part of Lake Erie's " Taking Breast Cancer by Storm" and GLIAC "Pink Wave" efforts.