Softball faces two extra-inning battles

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Over spring break, SLU Softball saw action at the Tiger Classic in Memphis.

First for the Billikens was a pair of games on March 17. The Billikens faced Eastern Kentucky, losing 4-2.

Eastern Kentucky scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, and added an unearned run in the third. SLU didn’t get on the board until the sixth inning when sophomore Kaylyn Breitbach drove in a run off a pinch hit single with two outs.

In the SLU seventh, senior catcher Hailey Weavers was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, cutting the Colonels lead to 4-2. SLU didn’t score the rest of the inning.

Next up was a 13-inning battle against Memphis. Junior infielder Allie Macfarlane batted in two runs off a double, but Memphis answered with a run of their own.

Senior infielder Alex Nickel scored on a double steal in the third to give the Billikens a 3-1 lead.

Memphis tied the game in the sixth, and scored the winning run in the 13th on a squeeze bunt. SLU lost 4-3.

SLU concluded the Tiger Classic with a pair of close losses on Saturday, March 18. SLU fell to Eastern Kentucky 4-2 and later fell to Memphis 3-2 in an eight-inning battle.

SLU Softball hosted Arkansas for the home opener on Wednesday, March 22. Despite a great defensive stand in the first few innings, SLU fell to the nationally ranked Razorbacks, 5-2.

Both teams were unable to get runs on the board, until an Arkansas player hit a two-run home run in the top of the fourth. The Billikens tried to mount a rally in their half of the fourth, using a bit of strategy to try getting some runs on the board. Nickel singled, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior right fielder Emma Buckles. However, this was the only offense the Billikens would see in the fourth.

In the fifth inning, Arkansas drove in two more runs to take a 4-0 lead over the Billikens. However, SLU started chipping away at this lead in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run from freshman Kaylea Chappelle, the designated hitter. SLU put two more runners on base in the bottom of the fifth with sophomore second baseman Mackenzie Lawson reaching on an error, and freshman left fielder Megan LoBianco hitting a double.

SLU changed pitchers in the top of the sixth, with Chappelle replacing junior Maddie Baalman. Arkansas drove in another run, going up 5-1. SLU tried to rally back in the bottom of the sixth, capitalizing on another Arkansas error to put junior first baseman Alyssa Tarquinio on first. Singles by Macfarlane and senior center fielder Mackenzie Peter sent Tarquinio to third. Weavers grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Tarquinio scored.

Chappelle gave up a walk and a hit to Arkansas in the seventh, but the Billikens otherwise shut down the Razorbacks in the final inning of play. Down 5-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Billikens again tried to rally, but the only offense was a double from Nickel before a lineout to Arkansas’ second baseman ended the game.

SLU begins A-10 conference play with a three-game road series in Philadelphia. Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s single game against Saint Joseph’s start at 11:00 a.m. The women will host their first conference games of the season against Dayton on Wednesday, March 29.