Fifth-year Elena Gonzalez had four hits and one RBI in six at-bats over the weekend. Photo Courtesy of: gorhody.com
The University of Rhode Island Softball team traveled to Chicago over the weekend to take on Atlantic 10 (A-10) conference foe Loyola Chicago University, dropping all three games in the series.
The Rams entered the series against the Ramblers losers of their last three conference matches, after being swept by Dayton the weekend prior.
Game one of Saturday’s double header was a low scoring affair. The only runs of the game came in the bottom of the first inning when third-year Sydney Barnett singled to center field to drive in fifth-year infielder Madison Ebeling to make the lead 1-0. Following the single by Barnett, second-year Haley Wallace hit a triple to dead center field to drive in Barnett and extend the Ramblers lead to 2-0.
The Rams offense was shut down by Loyola Chicago early and often as they allowed zero runs to cross the entire game. Second-year pitcher Peyton Pepkowski picked up her 10th win of the season for the Ramblers as she pitched all seven innings, allowing eight hits and no runs. Fourth-year Liz Lyncahrd took the loss for the Rams, her 10th of the season after pitching three and a third innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Lynchard struggled with her control, walking five batters as well as hitting one with a pitch.
After dropping the first match on Saturday, the Rams looked to bounce back in the second game of the double header. The second game started slow, with no runs by either team until the fifth inning when the Ramblers struck first. Ebeling hit a double to center field that scored fourth-year Tori Boysen and first-year Sierra Sass. The double made the score 2-0, putting Rhody back in a deficit they had seen in the first game of the doubleheader.
In the sixth inning, Loyola Chicago added on again as Barnett singled to right field to drive in fourth-year Amelia Thomas. Barnett made her way to third, and after the next few batters, she was driven in by a sacrifice fly off the bat of third-year Ava Bieneman.
The Ramblers made it 4-0 entering the top of the seventh inning, where the Rams would have three outs to mount a comeback. Rhode Island made a valiant attempt when fourth-years Rachel Zingerman and Skyler Rapuano stole second and third base. During the steal, Boysen, Loyola Chicago’s catcher, made a throwing error that allowed Zingerman to come in to score, giving the Rams their first run of the game and making it 4-1.
With Rapuano advancing to third on the error, first-year Becca Zawitowski was able to drive her in with a single to center field, cutting the deficit to 4-2. The rally stopped there though, as the Ramblers shut down the Rams for the rest of the seventh and took game two by a score of 4-2.
This win clinched the series victory for Loyola Chicago, but going into Sunday they were looking to complete the sweep of the Rams.
Zingerman discussed how to keep morale high in a cold skid like the one the Rams are having.
“We went through two pretty tough teams,” Zingerman said. “I think it is important to stay on track, we have playoffs in the back of our minds and we know we have to come out strong.”
Head Coach Whitney Goldstien agreed that it is all about the way that the group responds.
“I think it is a very simple mindset, we have played two of the top four teams in the past two weeks,” Goldstein said. “I think it’s very simple to flush that, and sometimes that’s easier said than done.”
On Sunday, the Rams and Ramblers entered the final game with Loyola Chicago having taken the first two games of the series.
Rhody took the lead early, striking first during the top of the first inning. Zingerman drove in Rapuano with a single to center field giving the Rams the 1-0 lead.
The Ramblers wouldn’t back down though, as they responded in the bottom half of the inning. Fifth-year Nova Sinskul singled to center field to bring in Barnett for the tying run.
In the bottom of the third inning with the game still tied 1-1, the Ramblers put up three more, starting with a single from second-year infielder Haley Wallace that brought Thomas and Ebeling across the plate to make it 3-1. Boysen followed that with a single of her own to drive in Barnett, extending the Loyola Chicago lead to three, leading 4-1.
The Ramblers added on in the fourth inning, scoring two more, starting with a Bieneman bunt single to bring in Sinskul, followed by an infield hit by Thomas to bring in Teagan Sopczak and make it 6-1.
This lead held until the sixth inning, when Zingerman was plated after fifth-year Elena Gonzalez singled to right field, cutting the lead to 6-2.
The Rams could not come up with any more offense as Loyola Chicago completed the sweep by a score of 6-2. With the sweep, Rhode Island fell to 16-27-1 overall and 6-11 within the A-10. Up next, URI will travel to New York to take on St. Bonaventure for a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday.