Softball defeated by Mercer in 9-1 blowout

Photo by John Nakano

The Tech softball team traveled to Mercer on Wednesday, April 10, for a midweek showdown against the in-state rival Bears and lost 9-1. The game was called after five innings due to the mercy rule, giving Mercer the sweep of the two-game season series. The loss dropped Tech to 18-22, while Mercer now stands at an even 23-23.

Errors were killer for Tech. The team committed four errors on the evening and allowed six unearned runs.

Kylie Kleinschmidt took the loss for Tech and is now 3-3 on the year. She pitched for 3.2 innings, and amassed two strikeouts, four hits, and six walks while allowing two earned runs and eight total runs.

The first inning went smoothly on defense for the Jackets, as three outs were made quickly with only one baserunner on. Then in the top of the second, a walk and a hit batter set the stage for Hayley Downs, who singled up the middle to score Katie Johnsky and give Tech the 1-0 lead. However, this would be the only highlight for the Jackets as Mercer took control of the game from here and never looked back.

Errors were killer for Tech. The team committed four errors on the evening.

Two walks and a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the inning brought the Bears’ McKenzie Woody to the plate with runners in scoring position. She hit a fly ball to left field that was misplayed, eventually reaching third on the miscue and allowing two runs to score. Another unearned run was scored in the third inning, this time off a ground out to second.

But the Bears did the most damage in the fourth inning that seemed to go on forever for the Jackets.

The Bears cycled through their entire lineup in an inning that saw five runs scored for Mercer and two more errors committed by Tech. A bases-loaded, no out walk began the scoring, and a two RBI single put Mercer up 6-1. An infield error brought in another run, followed immediately by a wild pitch that scored one more. The inning ended when the tenth batter popped out, but the damage had already been done.

Tech showed some promise in the fifth, when a hit batter, single, and stolen base put two runners in scoring position with one out. The team couldn’t capitalize however, and entered the bottom of the fifth just one run away from being mercy ruled.

A leadoff double followed by a groundout put the winning run just 60 feet away for Mercer. Then, Mercer’s Sarah Santana came through with a double to right field to score the runner and give the Bears the walkoff win.

Outfielder Haley Downs finished the game 1-2 for the Jackets and had Tech’s only RBI of the night. Third baseman Alysha Rudnik had Tech’s only other hit and finished 1-3.

For the Bears, centerfielder McKenzie Woody finished 1-3 and two of Mercer’s eight RBIs of the night. First baseman Ashton Holt also had two RBIs. Pitcher Kerri Nidiffer picked up the win for Mercer. She threw a complete game, allowing only two hits and two runs, only one of the runs being earned. She had two strikeouts and walked three batters.

The team will be back in action this weekend when they host conference opponent Maryland at Mewborn Field. The doubleheader on Saturday and single game on Sunday both begin at 1 p.m.