The University of Rhode Island’s softball team got swinging into their season this weekend at the Elon Tournament at Elon University in North Carolina. Rhode Island played four games over the weekend and sport a 1-3 record after their first weekend of the season.
The Rams season opener against North Texas started out the way they wanted, taking an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. But the Rams lead would not last. North Texas came right back with two runs in the top of the third. The Mean Green added one more in the forth and two in the fifth, extending their lead to 5-2. The Rams threatened in the fifth with bases loaded and Yeager came to the plate. Yeager doubled to the right center gap, scoring Abigail Bates and Abby Fenbert. However, that’s all the Rams could put together as the next two batters popped out and the threat ended with a strikeout.
North Texas capitalized off a pair of errors in the sixth, which led to two unearned runs. In the bottom of the seventh, Melanie Martire reached on an error and Yeager smacked her second double of the day, scoring the pinch runner, Rebecca Simms. Castro and Zembik walked to load the bases with two outs, but a strikeout ended the exciting the game.
The Rams played again on Friday, as they faced off against tournament host, Elon. The Rams were limited to three hits as they fell 6-2. Elon got a quick run in the first inning off a double, but Rhode Island took the lead in the top the third, when Melanie Martire was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Kylie Shivery singled through the left side to drive in Ariana Toro and Emily Zembik. But that was it for the Rams. Elon responded with single runs in the third and fourth innings to take the lead. They then added three runs in the bottom of the sixth, putting URI in a whole that they couldn’t dig out of.
After losing their first two games on Friday, Rhode Island faced off against Mt. Saint Mary’s on Saturday. Rhody trailed 2-1 entering the home half of the seventh. Shivery led odd with a double, Yeager followed with a walk and Julich was hit by a pitch to lead the bases. After a fielder’s choice got the lead runner at the plate, Senior Rachel Kuhlman came to the plate. She drilled the first pitch she saw to center field for a double, driving in pinch runner Brianna Heller as the tying run, and winning run Julich. That was Khulman’s first hit of the season, which came at a clutch moment.
Yeager hit a solo homerun, the first of her career. Through three games, Yeager had two doubles, one home run, four RBI and two walks to begin the season. Freshman Riley Kernan (1-0) earned the victory for the Rams. She held Mt St. Mary’s to one hit while pitching a scoreless 1.1 innings in relief of Sarah Gunderson. Gunderson had a strong performance, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing just two runs which came on back-to-back batters in the bottom of the sixth. Gunderson had four strikeouts and just one walk.
Rhode Island finished their weekend against Bowling Green on Saturday evening. The Rams got on the board first when Yeager continued to have the hot bat, as she delivered a two-out RBI double in the top of the first. However, it was all Bowling Green after that. They came right back and scored two in the bottom of the first, three runs in the third and four more in the fourth to put the mercy rule into effect.
Rhode Island heads to Madeira Beach, Florida for five games next weekend. From Feb. 23-25, the Rams will face Eastern Michigan, Albany, Manhattan, Marist and Middle Tennessee.