Ashford’s softball team started conference play with a bang on Wednesday, pounding five home runs en route to a split against St. Ambrose.
Ashford set a school record for home runs in a game in the opener, smacking four off Queen Bees pitching in an 11-3, five-inning win. St. Ambrose won the second game 8-5.
Freshman Emily Whetstone did the most damage for the Saints, hitting two home runs. Fellow freshman Rachel Hong earned her sixth win of the year in the opener, tossing a complete game while giving up one earned run on five hits and striking out three batters.
The Saints wasted no time, scoring in the first inning when freshman Alex Bitto knocked in Peyton Geeting on a sacrifice fly for the opening run. Freshman Shelby Hobelman added another later in the inning with her second home run of the season and second in as many games.
Junior Kara Christensen connected on a two-run blast in the second inning that easily cleared the left-field fence to make it 4-0. It was her first career homer.
After the Queen Bees got a pair of runs back in the second, the Saints exploded in the third inning for five runs. The first two came courtesy of Christine Ho, who doubled to center field, scoring Hong and Bitto.
Later in the inning, freshman Kalyn Ohlemeyer blasted a three-run homer over the left-field wall, putting the Saints up, 9-2. The home run was Ohlemeyer's second of the season.
Whetstone put the game on ice in the fifth in a pinch-hitting role, taking the first pitch she saw over the center-field fence for her second home run of the season.
The Sains opened the second game as they did the first, taking a 1-0 lead on a squeeze bunt by sophomore Stephanie Hebison in the first inning.
After the Queen Bees tied the game in the bottom of the first, the Saints jumped right back in front in the second when Whetstone hit a solo home run.
St. Ambrose scored three times in the next two innings to take a 4-2 lead, but Ashford rallied with three runs in the fifth inning for a 5-4 lead. Hebison hit a sacrifice fly for the first run, the second scored on a passed ball and Ho singled in the third.
The Queen Bees came back with the final three runs, though, helped by two Ashford errors, to win.
Senior Nikki Woodard took the loss for the Saints, giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits in one inning of work to fall to 0-3 on the season.
The Saints (11-9, 1-1 Midwest Collegiate Confer-ence) will step out of conference play Saturday, when they welcome Hannibal-LaGrange to Clinton for Breast Cancer Awareness Day. First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m.