Softball team loses fifth straight

Story by Chad Mullen, Writer

The Baker University softball team has fallen below .500 for the first time since mid-Febraury and sits at 6-14 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play after being swept at Culver-Stockton College on Saturday and at Avila University on Wednesday.

With a five-game losing streak, the Wildcats have dropped to 26-27 overall, and are currently sitting at 10th place in the Heart conference standings, fighting for a spot in the conference tournament.

Game one of Saturday’s series saw the Wildcats fall to an early 3-0 deficit to C-SC after a three-run home run from C-SC’s Cassie Burris. But Baker stormed back in the top of the third to take a 4-3 lead. BU was aided by an RBI from freshman Rachel Wheeler, who was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and a two-RBI single from senior Cari Vollenweider. The other run also came on Vollenweider’s hit and a throwing error by C-SC.

Culver-Stockton tied the game up at 4-4 in the bottom of the same inning, where the score remained until Burris drove in her fourth run of the game, this time a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh with one out.

Freshman Olivia Brees pitched the entire game, going 6.1 innings while giving up five runs and four earned. She also struck out nine batters in the game. For Culver-Stockton, pitcher Megan Creek also went the distance, throwing 7.0 innings, giving up four runs, three earned.

Game two was a different story for the Wildcats at the start of the game as by the end of the first inning they were holding onto a 2-1 lead. Culver-Stockton put runs on the board in each of the first four innings, however, including a two-run third inning to give C-SC a 5-2 lead after four.

The Wildcats chipped away in the fifth, cutting the lead to 5-3, but were unable to take advantage of their 10 hits on the game as well as the two C-SC errors and fell short of a comeback attempt in the seventh. After C-SC’s starting pitcher Sam Bolin gave up a run in the seventh and let the tying run on second, game one starter Creek came in for the save, holding off the Wildcat offense for the final two outs of the game.

Freshman Caitlin Hardgrove had a stellar game two for the Wildcats, going 4-4 with three doubles and an RBI. The Wildcats’ leading batter, sophomore Stephanie Cardona went hitless in the series but had an RBI in game two to give her 43 on the season.

The Wildcats offense struggled in Wednesday’s series against the Eagles, mounting only one run in the two games combined.

In game one, the Wildcats fell behind 2-0 in the third inning thanks to a wild pitch by Brees that brought home a run, and an RBI single by Avila’s Hayden Roberts. The Wildcats cut the deficit to one run after a wild throw allowed senior Ilona Miller to score in the fifth inning. The bottom half of the fifth broke open for the Eagles, as they were able to score seven runs and end the game with a 9-1 victory.

The Wildcats were unable to score in game two. Baker’s best chance to land a run came in the first inning, but the third out came with the bases loaded to end the inning empty-handed. The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with Madison Mueth’s RBI single, and the game broke open with a three-run fifth inning from the Eagles. The Wildcats went without advancing a runner to scoring position from the second inning on.

The Wildcats will next play on Saturday, hosting Benedictine College for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. at Cavaness Field for senior day.