Softball Walks Off Game 2 to Earn Split With Leathernecks

Sierra Miranda led the Mastodons on the day going 5 for 7 at the plate with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Brooke Imel finished with three hits (including the game-winner in game two), two doubles and two RBIs. Taylor Bolyard and Lauren Watson each finished with two hits.

In game one, both starting pitchers came out throwing well, as neither allowed a hit in the first two innings. Fort Wayne had leadoff singles in the third and fourth innings but was unable to score. Mastodon starting pitcher Bailey Benefiel did not allow a WIU hit until a leadoff single in the fifth. The Leathernecks scored three runs in the inning, all coming with two outs.

The ‘Dons added another leadoff single in the fifth before Western Illinois scored three more times in the sixth. Fort Wayne scored its lone run of the game in the bottom of the seventh. Caitlyn DeLong doubled with one away in the inning before moving to third on a wild pitch. Miranda followed with a single up the middle to score DeLong.

Benefiel threw a complete game in the loss, striking out a season-high eight hitters while allowing six runs on six hits.

The nightcap saw Imel and Miranda account for all four of the Mastodon runs as Darby Shaw pick up her first collegiate victory in the circle. Shaw threw a complete game, allowing just three runs and only one earned run.

Western Illinois scored the first with two runs in the third inning on a Fort Wayne error. The Mastodons answered back in the bottom half of the inning as Imel led off with a double and then scored on a single by Watson.

With two outs in the fourth, Miranda took the first pitch she saw over the right-center wall for her second home run of the season, a solo shot. Bolyard followed with a single up the middle before Imel brought her home all the way from first with a double to the right-center gap. The Leathernecks tied the game in the fifth on a single and a Mastodon error.

Both teams had an opportunity to win the game in the seventh, as each stranded runners in scoring position. The Leathernecks put a runner on third base in the eighth, but Shaw was able to induce a fly ball to end the threat.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Miranda singled to center before advancing to second on a groundout. Down 0-2 in the count, Imel delivered the game-winning hit, a single down the left field line, scoring Miranda from second and giving the Mastodons the victory.

The two teams wrap up their Summit League series tomorrow, April 9, at 11 a.m.