Photo courtesy of GoRhody

The Rhode Island softball team began conference play over the weekend at George Mason University. Despite the Rams 4-18 record entering the series, they played at a high level against their Atlantic 10 opponent. After Rhode Island lost the first game, they came back with two wins to take the opening conference series.

On Saturday, March 24, the Rams began the weekend with a double header. Rhode Island got on the board first in the top of the third with a Kylle Shivery single that drove in Adriana Toro. However, George Mason came right back in the bottom of the inning with four runs. There was just one hit in the big inning, but that hit was a two-out grand slam by Sydnee Wells. The bases got loaded with two walks and an error, which led to Wells’s dagger. That was all the Patriots needed in the first game as they went on to win 5-2.

In the next game, George Mason got started with two runs in the first inning. But the Rams clawed their way back with a run in the third and two more in the fifth, taking the lead. George Mason tied it up in the bottom of the sixth, making it 3-3 going into the seventh. Erica Robles and Shivery had back-to-back RBI singles to take a two run lead. Erika Yeager added an insurance run with a ground out which scored Toro, ending the inning with a three run lead. In the bottom of the seventh, the Patriots got a run back and had the potential tying runs on base before sophomore Sarah Gunderson induced an infield pop up to end the game and secure the victory. Sophomore Robles had three RBIs and sophomore Calleigh Holland scored three times for the Rams. Gunderson pitched all seven innings to earn her first win of the season, giving up just two earned runs and striking out six.

The next day was the tiebreaker between the two teams. The game started with the Rams scoring a run in the first, but George Mason matched them in the bottom of the inning. Then in the bottom of the second, the Patriots added two more runs to their lead. Rhode Island went into the seventh inning trailing 4-1, but pinch hitter Abigail Batres started the inning with a leadoff single. With two outs, Abby Fenbert reached on an error to two runners on base. Toro singled to load the bases for Robles, who reached on the second George Mason error of the inning, allowing Rhody’s first run of the inning. Shivery followed with a clutch two-run double to tie the game and set up extra innings. With two outs in the top of the 11th inning, Toro and Robles reached on back-to-back errors. Shivery then came through with a two-run triple to right center field to put the Rams in front. That secured the win for the Rams.

George Mason committed six errors in the last game, helping Rhode Island to the victory along with some timely hits. Julia Waraksy picked up her second win in as many outings, pitching 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. Senior Shivery drove in four runs and extended her hitting streak to eight games. Shivery now has 100 career RBIs, becoming just the third Ram to ever reach the mark.

Rhode Island’s next game is on March 30 when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the La Salle Explorers for a three game series.