ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University softball team split with the Edgewood College Eagles on Wednesday to earn its first Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference victory of the season. The long ball hurt the Regents in the opener, as Rockford surrendered a pair of two-run home runs and fell by a final score of 8-5. However, the ladies rebounded nicely in game two for a come from behind 6-2 victory.
After surrendering a run in each of the first two innings in game one, Rockford responded with a pair of runs in the top of the third to tie the game. Brooke Burris (Galatia, Ill.) and Caitlin Eiben (Racine, Wis.) strung together back-to-back singles with Eiben driving in the Regents' first run of the day to cut the Eagle lead in half. Two batters later, Taylor Pilarczyk (Chicago, Ill.) would tie the game at 2-2 with an RBI groundout.
Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse as the Eagles scored the next six runs to take a commanding 8-2 lead. Edgewood scored four runs in the bottom of the third off a pair of two-run home runs, and then added two more runs off three hits in the fifth.
However, the Regents continued to fight as they have done all season long and made things very interesting in the late innings. After a single by Nicole McCabe (Brookfield, Ill.) in the top of the sixth gave Rockford runners on first and third with just one out, Stefaney Kenworthy (Veedersburg, Ind.) ripped an RBI single back up the middle to chop the Eagle lead down to 8-3. Three batters later with the bases loaded and two outs, Caitlin Eiben once again came through in the clutch with a two-run single to pull her team back within three at 8-5. Unfortunately Edgewood retired the final four batters of the game and held on for the win.
Game two started out as a pitcher's duel early on before the Rockford offense broke through in the final three innings to blow the game wide open. Following a scoreless first two innings, the Regents took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third without recording a hit. Shannon LeGath (Sturtevant, Wis.) began the inning with a walk before advancing to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout. LeGath would then score on an RBI groundout off the bat of Lisa Blakeley-Snyder (Winnebago, Ill.). The RU lead did not last long as Edgewood crushed its third two-run home run of the day in the bottom half of the inning to grab a 2-1 advantage.
Rockford would then retake the lead in the fifth, and put the game away with a three-run sixth. In the fifth, it was once again LeGath reaching base first to jump-start the Rockford offense. After back-to-back singles from Kenworthy and Blakeley-Snyder, Burris tied the game at 2-2 on a RBI fielder's choice. Two batters later, McCabe put the Regents back on top, 3-2, with an RBI single through the right side of the infield. In the sixth, Rockford used three hits and took advantage of one costly Eagle error to put the game out of reach. Following two quick outs to start the inning, Pilarczyk and LeGath began the Rockford rally with a single and a walk. Kenworthy followed suit with a single of her own to load the bases; however thanks to an error by the Edgewood catcher, Pilarczyk would score on the play as Rockford made it a 4-2 game. One batter later, Lisa Blakeley-Snyder cleared the bases with a double into left center giving her team a commanding 6-2 lead. Six runs was more than enough for RU pitcher Stefaney Kenworthy who retired the final seven Eagle hitters to give the Regents their first NACC win this year.
Kenworthy was brilliant inside the circle against the Eagles throwing 9.2 innings on the day. The senior threw the final 2.2 innings in the opener allowing just 2 hits and no runs, while striking out 4. Kenworthy was equally as impressive in game two, throwing her team-leading 11th complete game of the season. She fired all 7 innings allowing just 2 runs, while striking out 4 and walking none.
The RU softball team returns to the field on Thursday, April 13 at home against Maranatha. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. at the Smith Athletic Field.