The Jackets softball team started their 2014 season with a series win over the Missouri State Bears, taking two of three games. Tech played a doubleheader on Saturday to open the season, winning their first in the series 3-0, before falling to the Bears 6-3 in game two. The Jackets would come back to take the rubber game with a 7-1 victory and clinch the series on Sunday.
Junior Kylie Kleinschmidt took the mound for Tech in game one where she threw a complete game shutout and allowing only four hits. The game was scoreless until the Jackets broke it open in the sixth inning. Senior shortstop Ashley Thomas got the scoring started with a solo home run to put the Jackets on the board. Thomas would have a nice day at the plate going 2-3 with an RBI. Junior Caitlyn Coffee finished off the scoring for the game with a two run single, scoring sophomore Maddie Lionberger and junior Karly Fullem for tech’s final runs.
“[In] the first game, Kylie Kleinschmidt pitched a great game for us. We didn’t score until the end, but we kept fighting,” told Tech head coach Shelly Hoerner to ramblinwreck.com. “I’m proud of the girls to do such a great job in coming up in clutch situations in the first game to produce runs.”
Freshman Kanani Cabrales made her career debut for the Jackets, starting in the circle for game two. Cabrales would go a complete game allowing 11 hits, two walks, four strikeouts and just one earned run. Tech committed three errors in the game accounting for five unearned runs.
Thomas would have another big game going 2-3 including another solo home run. Senior catcher Alysha Rudnik went 1-4 with two RBIs from a two run homer of her own in the third inning. Despite the pair of home runs by the Jackets, they would fall 6-3 in the game.
The Jackets would bounce back in the rubber game of the series behind another outstanding outing on the mound by Kleinschmidt. Throwing another complete game, Kleinschmidt gave up six hits, had four walks, six strikeouts and only one earned run. Her record would go to 2-0 after the win.
After getting down early in the game to the Bears in game three, Tech’s batting order brought their bats back to life in the fourth inning, scoring six runs in the inning. Center fielder Hayley Downs had a perfect day at the plate going 3-3 with an RBI. Rudnik contributed two hits in the fourth inning, including a two run single. Fullem helped out the Jackets with her bat with a two run homer to get the scoring started in the fourth. Left fielder Colleen Darragh added to the scoring as well in the inning, scoring a run and getting an RBI of her own. Darragh would finish the game 1-3. Coffey came into the game to pinch hit for the Jackets, getting an RBI single for Tech.
The Jackets look to carry the momentum of their first series win to the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. this weekend for a tournament with games against the New Mexico and Grand Canyon on Friday and Arizona and Alabama on Saturday, looking to finish up the weekend against Tennessee State on Sunday.