MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Kenzie Cremeens’ sixth inning sacrifice fly snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted the University of Rio Grande to a 2-1 win over the University of Pikeville, Monday night, in Fastpitch Dreams Spring Softball Classic at the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex.
The RedStorm, who posted a 10-5 win over Lincoln (Ill.) College earlier in the day, ran their winning streak to four straight with the two victories and improved to 8-12 overall.
Cremeens, a sophomore from Ironton, Ohio, plated the go-ahead marker with a flyball to deep left-center field after Rio had loaded the bases with one out on singles by sophomore Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH), junior Morgan Santos (Dayton, OH) and freshman Chase Arndt (Clyde, OH).
Junior pitcher Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) took care of the rest, scattering four hits and allowing the one run in a complete game effort. She did not walk a batter and struck out five.
Megan Claypoole was the hard luck loser for UPike (5-3), allowing just five hits and two runs — one earned — over six innings. She also did not issue and walk and fanned six.
Rio took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Webb reached on an error to begin the game, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by Santos.
UPike tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning on a leadoff home run by Macy Jones and the pitcher’s duel settled in from that point on.
In Monday’s opening game, Rio Grande had 10 doubles among its 17 hits overall and scored nine unanswered runs to post a come-from-behind win.
The RedStorm pushed across a second inning run to grab an early lead, but the Lynx countered with four runs in the top of third inning — three of which were unearned — to take a lead of their own.
The advantage was short-lived, though.
Rio Grande scored three times in the bottom of the third to tie the game and then added three more markers in both the fourth and fifth frames to open up a 10-4 cushion.
Lincoln (1-4) scored its final run in the seventh inning.
Cremeens went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI to lead Rio, while Santos was also 4-for-4 with three doubles and two runs batted in and Arndt finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI.
Webb also had a pair of doubles, while junior Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) went 2-for-4 with a double.
Sophomore Viv Capozella (Dover, OH) picked up the win in relief, allowing just one hit and one run over the final five innings. She also walked three and struck out six.
Kerstin Osborne started and took the loss for Lincoln. She allowed 10 hits and seven runs over 3-1/3 innings.
Ali Nowicki led the Lynx offensively with two hits, including a double, a two RBI. Melissa Benson also had a double and a run batted in.
Rio Grande will continue play in the Classic on Tuesday morning, facing Haskell Indian Nation (KS) University and Holy Family (WI) College.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.