ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Alverno softball team picked up a conference victory in the second game of a two-game set with the Rockford Regents on Monday afternoon. The victory came in the second game by the score of 11-2; earlier in the afternoon the Inferno fell to the Regents by a 9-5 margin.
As a team the Inferno sent just two pitchers to the circle including sophomore Lauren Greif, who tossed her first career complete game as she went seven innings and allowed just two runs while nearly doubling her career strikeout total with a career-high eight as she earned the win.
Freshman Natalie Akin got the start in the opener and yielded just two earned runs over her six-inning outing while striking out one batter.
At the dish, senior Mackenzie Mathies ended the day 7-for-9 for a .778 batting average as she scored four runs. Sophomore Kaitlynn Schmick had six hits and led the Inferno with four extra-base hits (all doubles) as she led the team with six RBIs while scoring two runs.
Senior Andie Vantertie and junior Brandi Rice each had four-hit days as the pair each drove in two runs apiece with Rice scoring three runs and Vandertie crossing the plate once.
Three others had two hits apiece on the afternoon as seniors Samantha Chapnick and Carina Jimenez connected on a pair of hits, including a double off the bat of Jimenez. Freshman Natalie Akin had two hits on the game as well. Junior Sara Redlin was 1-for-4 at the dish and drove in one run in the opener.
Senior Sam Korn walked three times on the day and scored three runs as well, while Greif also scored one run after reaching on a fielder's choice in the second game. Senior Karli Selear scored a run as a pinch runner, while senior Dani Hood was tied with Mathies for the most defensive putouts in the outfield.
Alverno held two early leads in the game at 2-0 and 3-2 before falling behind late in the game. The Inferno put together a valiant comeback attempt in the seventh inning but fell short of Rockford's run total.
The Inferno got off to a quick start as Rice singled followed by a two-base hit off the bat of Jimenez as Alverno put a pair in scoring position. Schmick followed with a double to the right centerfield gap to drive the pair in and give Alverno a 2-0 lead.
Rockford evened the game at two with a pair off of Akin in the bottom of the first before she got some defensive help with a double play to leave a runner stranded.
Mathies got a two-out single in the second inning, which turned out to be the only hit in the second for either side. The Inferno scored next in the top of the third with a two-out rally as Vandertie singled with two down before Akin followed with a base knock. Chapnick then followed with a double to drive Vandertie in to put Alverno back on top by a 3-2 score.
The Regents tallied three unearned runs in the third before notching another unearned run in the fourth to take a 6-3 lead. A scoreless fifth inning was followed by another three-run rally by the Regents as the Inferno committed a pair of errors behind Akin.
The Inferno attempted to erase the deficit in its final turn at bat as Schmick got another rally started with a double into centerfield. Vandertie singled to put runners on the corners before the first out was retired. Chapnick followed with an opposite-field single to drive in one before Korn walked to load the bases.
Redlin reached on a fielder's choice allowing another run to score for Alverno, but it was not enough as the Regents held on for the win.
Coming off the loss in the opener, Alverno got off to another quick start as Rice led off the inning with a singled before advancing to second on a base knock by Schmick. Two batters later, Jimenez drove in the game's first run on a base hit up the middle to put the Inferno up, 1-0.
Greif set down the side in the first after allowing a one-out single to bring the Inferno bats back up to the plate. Akin opened the second by reaching on an error and was erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of Korn. With two down, Rice doubled to centerfield to bring in the second run of the game before Mathies singled to put two on.
Schmick was up next and drilled a double to left centerfield to score Rice, before Vandertie singled to centerfield to plate Mathies. Alverno scored three runs in the top of the second to take a four-run lead.
Greif set down the next six Regents in order to send the game to the fourth inning as Alverno's bats came to life again. Korn got the rally started with a walk before Mathies singled with one down. Schmick drove in another run with a singled up the middle before Vandertie drilled a double into the left centerfield gap allowing Mathies to score. Against a new pitcher Jimenez drove in a run on a groundout as the Inferno plated three more runs in the frame.
A two-run home run by the second batter in the bottom of the fourth was all the offense that Rockford could muster against Greif as the game progressed to the fifth inning with Alverno ahead by a 7-2 score.
After a scoreless fifth, Mathies opened the sixth with a single and advanced to second on an error. A groundout moved Mathies up to third, before Vandertie reached on an error allowing Mathies to score the eighth Inferno run.
In the seventh it was Akin to reach on an infield single before being erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of Greif. A pair of wild pitches moved Alverno's starting pitcher up to third base before Korn walked to put runners on the corners. Rice sent a fly ball into centerfield allowing Greif to tag and score ahead of Mathies' single to put two runners on with two down.
Schmick was up again in another key RBI spot and doubled up the middle as both Mathies and Korn scored for the third three-run rally of the game by Alverno.
After a leadoff single, Greif retired the next three batters in order for her first career complete game as she went the distance while earning her team-leading fourth win of the season.
Alverno (10-24, 1-17 NACC) will wrap-up non-conference play on Thursday afternoon, when the Inferno play a make-up doubleheader with the Blue Angels of Mount Mary on Thursday afternoon beginning at 3 p.m. on the Alverno Softball Field.