Story by Blake Bernier, Staff writer
The Racer softball team opened its fall schedule with two wins on Sept. 13 in Carbondale, Illinois against Lindenwood University 11-2 and Southern Illinois University 7-3.
In the first game of the doubleheader against Lindenwood, junior Mason Robinson pitched four innings and gave up no hits while striking out five batters to earn the win.
Last season Robinson won 15 games and finished the season with a 2.99 ERA. Robinson started 26 games and allowed an opponent batting average of just .239.
Senior J.J. Francis came on in relief in the fifth inning and earned the save after pitching three innings. Francis allowed three hits and one earned run.
Defense and pitching weren’t the only thing that were clicking for the Racers as the bats came alive against Lindenwood.
Head Coach Kara Amundson said that she was happy with the way the team hit during the weekend. She said the lineup from top to bottom contributed and that players were ready when they were called upon.
In game one, the Racers tallied 10 hits including a triple by junior Jessica Twaddle in the first inning, a double by senior Erica Howard in the second inning and a homerun by junior Maggie Glass in the second inning. All of the 11 runs came within the first four innings of play.
Twaddle led the OVC in batting average last season and continue to roll during the first fall games going 4-for-6 with a triple, a homerun and four RBIs.
The second game of the day was against the Salukis and after two innings the score was tied 2-2. Freshman pitcher Amber Van Duyse took the circle and pitched a complete game while striking out five and allowing six hits and one earned run in her first game for the Racers.
In the fifth inning with the score still tied, sophomore Haven Campbell came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a bases clearing double.
Campbell didn’t record an at-bat last season as a freshman but started two games as pitcher and finished the season 2-2 with 17 total appearances in the circle. Against the Salukis, Campbell was in the lineup as the designated hitter.
Amundson said she plans to continue to mix the lineup up during the fall season, but it isn’t something new for the Racers. Last season through the first 10 games Amundson used eight different lineup combinations.
“I think the fall is good to give the players a taste of what it feels like to come off the bench,” Amundson said. “It really gives me and my staff a chance to see what the future is going to hold in terms of lineup and who can play where and things like that.”
One of the important positions that Amundson is looking to fill is shortstop after the loss of Alexa Becker. Last season the Racers turned 33 double plays to lead the OVC.
For the upcoming games, Amundson said she will continue to move people around at different positions, specifically on the infield.
Next up for the Racers is a doubleheader against Kentucky Wesleyan College at 1 p.m. Sunday on Racer Field.