MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The University of Rio Grande softball opened a week-long, 10-game road swing with a pair of victories on Sunday, knocking off the Mississippi University for Women, 7-4 and 6-1, as part of the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic at the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex.
Rio Grande upped its record to 6-3 as a result of the sweep.
MUFW, which has a dual affiliation as an NCAA Division III school and as a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), fell to 3-5 with the loss.
The Owls failed to maintain a pair of two-run leads in the opener, as Rio Grande erased a 2-0 first inning deficit and then scored five unanswered markers to battle back from a 4-2 fourth inning shortcoming.
A two-out solo home run by junior Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) in the fourth inning got the RedStorm within one run, while freshman Cierra Clark’s (Plain City, OH) fifth inning RBI double tied the game. Clark scored the go-ahead run moments later when freshman pinch-hitter Caity Moody’s (Xenia, OH) grounder to second was errored.
Rio added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on a two-out, two-run home run by junior Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH).
Creemens finished 3-for-4 and also had a double, while junior Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) had two hits of her own and drove in a run. Senior Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) also had a double in the win.
Senior Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) got the win, allowing eight hits and two earned runs over six innings. Freshman Sydney Campolo (New Lexington, OH) earned a save, coming on to retire three straight batters — two by strikeout — after the Owls put each of their first two runners on in the seventh inning.
Kaitlyn Parrish went the distance in the loss for MUFW.
Anna Kate O’Bryant had two hits and drove in two runs for the Owls, while Iyana Canada had two hits, including a double. Miranda Nash also doubled and drove in a run in the loss.
In game two, Campolo spotted the Owls a 1-0 first inning lead before finishing the day with six innings of five-hit, shutout ball.
Rio tied the game in the top of the second, then added two runs in the fourth and single markers in each of the final three frames to win going away.
Clark went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, while Cremeens had three hits of her own — including a triple and a double — and drove in a run. Schmitt added two hits to the winning effort and freshman Lexi Carnahan (Felicity, OH) had an run-scoring double.
Campolo finished with three walks and seven strikeouts in the win.
Megan Cummins and Maddy Suggs had two hits each in the loss for MUFW. Cummins and Macy Nordquist each doubled for the Owls.
Mackenzie Denton started in the circle for MUFW and suffered the loss, allowing seven hits and four runs over four innings.
Rio Grande returns to action on Wednesday with a pair of games against NCAA Division III schools. The RedStorm will face Cairn (Pa.) University in its 1 p.m. opener before tangling with Clarks Summit (Pa.) University at 3 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.