Eagles Sweep Rangers in Final Regular Season Home Games

Dean Paolucci, Reporter

The Ashland University softball team was able to finish out their final two regular season home games against the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers via a two-game sweep of the Rangers this past Tuesday.

The Eagles (31-19) were able to defeat the Rangers (7-41) in the first game by a score of 9-1 in six innings and by a shutout of 7-0 in the second game.

In the first game, the Eagles only scored runs in two total innings, from a four-run third inning and a five-run sixth inning. Meanwhile, the Rangers scored early in the first inning off a sacrifice bunt by Adrien Hall, but that came to be the only inning the Rangers would score in the ballgame.

Junior outfielder and infielder Dayna Denner was the difference maker in the first game, going two for three at the plate and four runs-batted-in, including a homerun in the third inning.

“She had a good day. She may be a little more disappointed than what we are. Dayna’s a perfectionist,” Ashland head coach Emlyn Knerem said. “She’s doing her job, and putting the ball in play when we need her to.”

Sophomore infielder Emma Lawson was another Eagle that had another big day offensively, going two for three at the plate and bringing in two runs.

Defensively, the Eagles were led by sophomore pitcher Laney Jones (14-9), as she went the entire ballgame and only gave up two hits and one earned run. Jones faced 21 batters in the game and was able to strike out nine of them.

For the Rangers, Adrien Hall was the main source of offense, bringing in the only run for the Rangers in game one off a sacrifice bunt in the first inning.

The Rangers defense struggled as well, mainly sophomore pitcher Alyssa McClelland (4-5) who went for five innings and gave up seven earned runs and 11 total hits. McClelland faced 29 batters of Ashland and was unable to record any strikeouts.

The second game was another win for the Eagles, this time by a shutout against the Rangers by a score of 7-0.

The Eagles started off the game with a two-run first inning and the Eagles continued to score at least one run in each of the six possible innings on offense.

Denner had another game of multiple runs-batted-in following the first game, this time with two runs-batted-in and going one for three offensively. Junior first baseman Kylie Asmus also had two runs-batted-in for the Eagles, despite going zero for three at the plate.

At the mound was senior pitcher Hannah Stroe (15-10), who went seven innings and only gave up one hit and did not give up any earned runs. Stroe faced 23 batters of the Rangers and was able to record five strikeouts.

“Prior to this, I was having a couple confidence problems,” Stroe said. “After that first win against Grand Valley, I feel like my confidence has been growing from there.”

The win for Stroe is her fourth win in her last five starts, including four straight wins and an earned-run-average of 0.75.

“She’s been feeling good, she’s been looking sharp, she’s been hitting her spots,” said Knerem. “She’s been able to just keep hitters off-balance, and our defense has been playing well behind her.”

For the Rangers of Wisconsin-Parkside, junior pitcher Allison Hausl (2-11) was the losing pitcher after going six innings and giving up six earned-runs and eight hits. Hausl was able to strikeout four batters of the 30 she faced in the loss for the Rangers.

“We’re playing well right now,” said Knerem. “Defensively, we’re playing really well, and our pitching has been showing up really well in our last couple doubleheaders, so things are looking really good for us right now.”

The Eagles double header wins and sweep against the Parkside Rangers, the Eagles have swept the Rangers the entire season. The Eagles are 4-0 against the Rangers this season and have outscored Parkside by a score of 25-2.

The Eagles will now look forward to two neutral site double headers to end the year, starting with a double header against Davenport University at Sports Force Park in Sandusky, OH, on Friday, Apr. 26, at 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm.