Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald
---- — TUCSON, Ariz. – There was no shortage of offense coming from the Ashford University softball team Monday afternoon. The Saints combined for 18 runs and 22 hits in a pair of wins at the 2014 Tucson Invitational Games.
Senior Nicole Interrante drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning as AU opened the day with a 5-4 win over Northwestern College (Iowa). The Saints carried that momentum over to the second game of the doubleheader, a 13-3 six-inning thrashing of Arizona Christian University.
Interrante and sophomore Siera Spahiu each had three RBIs to lead the Saints. Juniors Payton Geeting and Kalyn Ohlemeyer finished with four hits, and nine players recorded at least one hit. Senior Kendra Roth picked up the win in both games as Ashford improved to 3-1 on its spring-break trip and 4-7 on the year.
“It was nice to see the offense break out,” coach Kevin Jannusch said. “We were able to get timely hits against Northwestern and then everyone got into the act in Game 2. In the circle, Kendra was outstanding. Getting two wins in a day isn’t exactly normal. She pitched a great inning to keep the momentum from swaying away from us against Northwestern and followed in up in a dominating way for five innings in her start.”
In the opener, Interrante collected her first RBI of the game in the bottom of the first with a double to center field. Two innings later, AU re-took the lead on an Ohlemeyer ground-rule double that made it 2-1.
Trailing 3-2 in the fifth inning, Ashford once again jumped in front, thanks to Ohlemeyer’s second RBI hit of the game, a single that brought home Allie Klasen from second base. Two batters later, Shelby Hobleman hit a sacrifice fly that brought Geeting across the dish to make it 4-3 Saints.
But just as they had done three previous times, the Red Raiders battled back to even up the game in the sixth inning with a two-out run scoring single. But Northwestern failed to cash in with two runners on in the top of the seventh, setting the stage for Interrante’s late-inning heroics.
Geeting led off the inning with a walk and eventually advanced to third base. With one out, Interrante slapped a pitch into right field, giving the Saints their first walk-off win of the year.
Ashford was in control from the opening pitch of Game 2, scoring one run in the first, three in the second and two more in the third inning with six different players recording RBIs. It was more than enough support for Roth, who was dominant in the circle, tossing five innings of no-hit ball to open the game.