Softball hits 42 at Red & Black Showcase

Murray State softball came out of the Eighth Annual Red & Black Showcase winning three out of five scheduled games. The Racers totaled 42 hits between Feb. 6-8.

The women competed against University of Georgia, Winthrop University, Coppin State University and University of Illinois.

“Anytime you start a tournament and it’s the first time out, you’re getting some rust off,” said Head Coach Kara Amundson. “I feel like we didn’t even have to do that. We hit the ground running.”

The Racers were one for one Friday. They stepped up and defeated Coppin State 8-0.

The first game of the weekend was against a No. 10 Georgia team and the Racers fell to the hosting Bulldogs 6-0.

Sophomore infielder Jessica Twaddle was the only one to hit off Georgia’s All-American pitcher Chelsea Wilkinson.

Amundson attributed Georgia’s national ranking to their strong pitching staff. She said Wilkinson’s pitching style only gives a small window of opportunity to hit, and her speeds were something they weren’t used to seeing. Despite Wilkinson’s skill, Twaddle managed to adjust and get a hit off, which Amundson called an accomplishment.

“Softball is a game where you work hard and you set yourself up to be successful,” Amundson said. “I think all of my players do that on a regular basis, and JT just got a ball she could hit. It was a hit on the board for us and anytime you can break up a no-hitter it’s definitely a big deal.”

The Racers started the second day of the tournament off strong with a 5-3 win over Illinois before losing to Winthrop 8-6.

Sophomore catcher Jocelynn Rodgers batted 10 runs in at the invitational.

“This was one of my best weekends I’ve had so far,” Rodgers said. “Coming in as a sophomore, getting 10 RBIs for the team I’m just trying to do what I can to get the win.”

Rodgers said that she feels good going into next weekend’s games with few adjustments.

“Attack every inning instead of thinking about the entire game,” Rodgers said.

The team finished the showcase with a comeback, beating Winthrop 8-4.

“We came back the very next day, made some adjustments and beat them,” Amundson said. “We shut them down from a pitching standpoint. We came out and scored first, and that gave us a great start.”

Next up, the Racers will travel to Birmingham, Ala., to compete in the Samford Classic. They will compete against Gardner-Webb, Nicholls State and the Samford Bulldogs.

“This weekend we came out with really good focus and intensity,” Amundson said. “Moving forward into the Samford tournament, we are going to see some tough competition, but we are ready to defend.”

Story by Da’Sha Tuck, Staff writer