The University of Rhode Island softball team competed in the Grand Canyon Invitational in Phoenix, Arizona last weekend where they lost all five games in the Six-team invitational.
The first game for the Rams (1-9) took place on Friday against San Jose State University. They lost a close one with a score of 4-3. San Jose State (6-6) used a three-run fourth inning to build a 4-0 lead. Rhody was limited to one hit in the first four inning. In the top of the sixth, shortstop Melanie Martire drilled her third home run of the season, a two-run blast that pulled the University of Rhode Island within one run. The Rams were unable to complete the comeback, though. The San Jose pitchers kept the Rhody offense out of rhythm for most of the game, striking out a total of 11 Rams.
The Rams played the second game of their double-header later that night against the University of Nevada. URI was in striking distance, down 2-0, until the Wolfpack broke the game open with a seven-run fourth inning. The Rams dropped that one by a score of 9-0. Pitcher Sarah Gunderson was charged with eight of the nine runs in the loss, while URI was able to muster only three hits off of Kali Sargent. the pitching woes had little effect on head coach Bridget Hurlman who knows the talent of her staff will eventually turn out more consistent performances.
“Pitching will come along and when it all comes together it’s going to be something special,” Hurlman said of her team’s overall pitching performance in the invitational.
The next game for Rhody was Saturday morning as they took on the host team, the 15-1 Grand Canyon University Antelope. The Rams lost another heartbreaker in what would have been a significant confidence boosting win. Both teams exchanged three-run innings early in the game before URI took the lead in the third. Infielder Kylie Shivery singled with two outs and later scored on an Erica Yeager double, who in turn crossed the plate courtesy of a Paige Julich RBI single. Grand Canyon got one run back in the bottom half of the inning, but the Rams held on to a 5-4 lead until the bottom of the sixth.
With two outs, pinch hitter Megan Stevens blasted a three-run home run to put them back ahead. Rhode Island got the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh when Ali Summers led off the frame with a single. However, a strike out, fielder’s choice and a groundout ended the contest. One bright spot from that game was the freshman Yeager, as she continued the torrid start to her career, picking up three hits. She doubled, singled twice and scored two runs.
The Rams had to rebound quickly, as they had a rematch with Nevada later that day, which they would lose by a score of 9-3. While URI struggled to produce runs, Nevada jumped out early with four through the first two innings. The Wolfpack scored at least once in each of the first five innings, steadily increasing their lead.
The Rams final game was against Portland State University who came into the game winless. Rhode Island dropped its seventh straight contest, losing 4-3.Gunderson bounced back nicely, allowing just one run over 5.1 innings, but her team did not mount much offense until late in the game. Rhody got the tying run on base in the bottom of the seventh when right fielder Caileigh Holland singled to lead off the inning. She eventually came in on a single by Shivery. Jenna Cubello made it a one-run game when she singled to drive in pinch runner Brianna Heller, but Cubello was stranded when a strikeout ended the game.
Hurlman saw the silver lining in the unsuccessful trip, with her eye on the on the future and growth of her team.
“As much as you want to be result based we really came together this weekend and played together,” Hurlman said. “We played Defense and hit really well over the weekend.”
The Rams next head to Lynchburg, Virginia to partake in the Liberty Classic beginning Friday afternoon where they hope for a reversal of fortunes.
“Im pumped about the upcoming games after losing a close one to a great team in Grand Canyon,” Hurlman said.