Softball sweeps No. 24 Saginaw Valley State in home openers


KIRKSVILLE, Mo. - For the first time in two weeks, the Truman State University softball team played a game and it came in the form of the 2018 home openers. The Bulldogs welcomed in No. 24 Saginaw Valley State and sent the Cardinals home with a pair of losses, both in walk-off fashion.

For the day, Brooke VunCannon paced the offensive attack with four hits in her seven at-bats (.571 batting average), four total bases and a run scored. Alyssa Rivera (3-for-7) and Christa Reisinger (2-for-4) were the other Bulldogs with multiple hits while Ashley Murphy batted in two to maintain her team lead in RBI with nine.

In game one, Truman struck first when Reisinger scored on a wild pitch before Saginaw Valley State answered with two runs in the third and two more in the sixth to go up 4-1. When it mattered most, though, the Bulldogs came through with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie it up.

VunCannon led it off with a single and one out later, Reisinger's bunt single back to the pitcher put runners on first and second before both moved up on a wild pitch. Rivera then singled in VunCannon and the home team was within two. During Jamie Fowle's plate appearance, Rivera stole second and the second baseman made an error trying to cut off the throw, which allowed Reisinger to come in from third. Fowle then hit one right back up the middle, Rivera touched the plate and it was tied up, 4-4.

Neither squad scored in the eighth and the Bulldogs held the Cardinals scoreless in the top half of the ninth. In the home half of the ninth, Reisinger opened it up with a base knock to center and stole second during Rivera's at-bat. Rivera then put down a sacrifice bunt to the third baseman whose throw to first was wide and Reisinger came in to win it.

Lauren Dale got the start, but picked up the no decision with 5.1 innings pitched, four runs given up, three earned, on 10 hits, no walks, and three strikeouts. In relief, Alyssa Hajduk (pictured/4-1) was marvelous with three and two-thirds innings of one-hit, shutout ball.

In the nightcap, Truman was first on the board once again thanks to two runs in the first and another in the third. Those three runs came from a pair of RBI groundouts (Murphy and Morgan McMahan) as well as Adrienne Compton scoring on a wild pitch.

Saginaw Valley State responded with two in the third and another in the sixth to knot it up, 3-3, heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. The Bulldogs failed to score in that half, but the Cardinals didn't either in the top half of the seventh.

In the home half of that inning, Rivera reached on a fielding error by the first baseman and moved up on a wild pitch. Fowle then sacrificed herself to move Rivera to third and there was one out for Murphy. Murphy laid down a sacrifice bunt as well, also to the third baseman who flipped it to the catcher, but Rivera avoided the tag to give Truman the win.

The starter, Nicolette Simpson, received the no decision after giving up three earned runs in six innings before giving way to Hajduk. Hajduk improved to 5-1 after one frame of one-hit pitching in which she didn't allow a run.

Next up, Truman begins GLVC play on Thursday at Illinois Springfield with game one set to begin at 2 p.m.

Courtesy of Truman State Athletics

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