CLINTON – After dropping the first game 11-7, Ashford used three first-inning home runs in to propel itself to a 7-5 win a college softball split against St. Ambrose on Sunday.
Senior Shelby Hobelman and sophomore Taylor Ellestad belted two home runs each on the day, and senior Alex Bitto went 6-for-8 with six RBIs and a three-run homer in Game 2. The two teams combined for eight home runs and 45 hits in two games.
Hobelman’s three-run home run helped Ashford build a 4-1 lead in the first inning of Game 1, but the Queen Bees (15-13-1) went ahead to stay when Nikki Green, a senior from DeWitt, capped a five-run third inning with a go-ahead home run.
Nicole Schmidt (12-8) walked one and struck out six in a complete game for Ashford (18-18). Ashley Yattoni (2-2) earned the win, tossing 2 2/3 innings of relief.
The teams flip-flopped roles in the second game. St. Ambrose scored three runs in the top of the first inning, but the Saints rallied to win.
Bitto hit a three-run home run to tie it in the bottom of the first. Two batters later, Hobelman connected for her second home run of the day and team-leading seventh of the year with a two-run shot to left. With two down and no one on, Ellestad made it 6-3 with a blast to left for her fifth homer of the year.
Shelby Yepsen (4-4) picked up the win after allowing four runs on nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Ashlee Amador tossed the final 1 2/3 innings to earn her first career save.
Sunday’s doubleheader completed a stretch of six games over three days. The Saints lost twice Friday in the third annual Breast Cancer Awareness Jamboree in Morrison, Illinois, then split Saturday on Day 2 of the event. They used a late rally to force extra innings on their way to a 7-6 nine-inning win over Purdue Calumet (Indiana) before losing 6-0 to Judson (Illinois).
Hobelman drove in four runs in Game 1, including the game-tying double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Siera Spahiu delivered the winning single in the bottom of the ninth.
The Saints managed just five hits in game two off Judson starter Brianna Tennyson. The Eagles backed their starter with four runs in their first three innings and 17 hits total in the game.
Ashford has one day off before returning to the field Tuesday with a 3 p.m. doubleheader in Dubuque against Clarke.