By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
MYRTLE BEACH, SC--- The Express softball team (8-0) finished their spring trip unscathed after two more wins today – 11-3 over NAIA Div. I Bluefield College and 4-1 over NJCAA Div. I Olney Central College.
Owens shook off three unearned runs in the top of the fifth to score five runs of their own in the bottom half to walk away with an 11-3 win over Bluefield College (Va.).
After their lead was cut to three after four and a half, Owens got their half of the fifth started when Lindsey Bandeen (Springfield/Holland, Ohio) lined a single to left. Bridget Wolfe (Bellevue/Bellevue, Ohio) reached on an error to put runners on first and second.
Matea Rice (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) sacrificed them over before Courtney Mowery (Genoa/Genoa, Ohio) roped a two-run double to left scoring Bandeen and Wolfe. After a groundout, Rice's former high school teammate, Hallie Thompson (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) knocked Mowery in with an RBI double.
Kristen Roznoski (Cardinal Stritch/Toledo, Ohio) then singled to put Thompson on third before Ashleigh Whitacre (Central Catholic/Toledo, Ohio) ended the game with a two run double to left field scoring Roznoski and Thompson.
Roznoski finished the game 4-4 with four runs scored from the leadoff spot, while Whitacre went 2-3 with two doubles and three RBI from the two hole. As a team, the Express hit five doubles among their 13 hits.
Jordan Ratliff (Summerfield/Petersburg, Mich.) moved to 3-0 on the season with her five inning, complete game performance. She allowed six hits while striking out two.
For the third time in eight games, the Express defeated NJCAA Div. I Olney Central. This time, Ashlyn Michalak (Springfield/Temperance, Mich.) and Roznoski led the way in a 4-1 win.
Michalak (2-0), coming off a perfect game in her first collegiate outing yesterday, followed that up with a seven inning, five hit, one walk and nine strikeout complete game. She faced 28 batters and has struck out 19 batters in two games.
In the process, Michalak pitched out of two jams in which Olney Central had at least a runner on third with no outs.
In the fifth, with runners on second and third with no outs, she struck the next two batters out before inducing a pop up to first base.
Then, in the sixth, Michalak faced no outs and a runner on third. First, she induced a grounder to Bandeen at short, who checked the runner before throwing to first. Then, Michalak checked the next hitter with a screwball, who popped up to short before a lazy fly ball to centerfield ended the threat.
The Express had 11 hits, but spread them around aside from the fifth inning in which they had five hits in a row – leading to one run in the inning.
"Overall, I thought we had a pretty good performance," said Owens head coach Duane Lanham.
Once again, Roznoski led the Express at the plate while going 3-4 with a run scored as the leadoff hitter. She was 7-8 with five runs on the day. Allison Hausch (Bryan/Bryan, Ohio) went 2-2 with two doubles.
After today's action, the Express seem to be in midseason form, according to Lanham. The trip also gave the coaching staff a chance to look at the young freshman, such as Michalak.
"Our short game and pitching has been going well, our defense is solid, and as the week progressed, we started stroking the ball. We competed against NJCAA Div. I, NJCAA Div. II, and NAIA Div. I schools – we feel good."
Owens (8-0) will now return home to prepare for their next game, which is scheduled for March 25 against Adrian College JV in Adrian, Mich.