Cardinals Fall in Final Day of Winter Haven trip
Winter Haven, FL. – The Wheeling University Softball team (7-9, 0-0) wrapped up their trip to Winter Haven, Florida on Friday morning with doubleheader action. They opened the day with a close 5-2 loss to Cedarville and wrapped things up falling to Millersville 11-5. The Cardinals finish the trip 3-5 in their eight-game stretch and now look ahead to Mountain East Conference (MEC) play next weekend.
Game One: Cedarville 5, Wheeling 2
In-game one of the day, Aubrie Lafferty made her third start of the trip looking to give Wheeling the edge in the circle. After Wheeling went 1-2-3 in the first, Lafferty helped her team out with a scoreless bottom of the first. However, the Yellow Jackets got on Wheeling in the second when a solo home run put them up 1-0. It was only a solo shot, and Lafferty kept her composure, allowing just that one run as Cedarville held a 1-0 lead after two innings. They added a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings to extend their lead to 3-0 before the Wheeling bats came alive.
Anna Florczak got things started with a lead-off single and two batters later found herself at third thanks to a groundout and a Passed Ball. That brought Cassi Roman to the plate, who reached on an error and brought Florczak home to make it a 3-1 affair. Roman would then advance to second on a wild pitch and Natalie Stoner moved the runner to third with a groundout to set a runner at third with two outs. It went back to the top of the lineup and Taylor Hradek came through ripping one past the third baseman to cut the Cedarville advantage to 3-2.
After holding the Yellow Jackets scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, they ended up getting back on the board with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single that put the game out of reach at 5-2 heading into the seventh. Jenee Brodeur led the inning off as a pinch-hitter but struck out, and Cassi Roman and Cass Feyh would ground out to end the game. The loss dropped Wheeling to 3-4 on the trip, still giving them a chance to leave Florida with a winning record.
There were no Cardinals with multiple hits in the game, but Taylor Hradek led the way going 1-3 with an RBI in her three at-bats. Cassi Roman added an RBI without the courtesy of a hit, going 0-3 while reaching base on an error. The Cardinals had a total of four hits, with the other three coming courtesy of Autumn Oehlstrom, Gina Fogle, and Anna Florczak. Lafferty went the complete game in the losing effort, throwing 6.0 innings while allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits while walking two and striking out two.
Game Two: Millersville 11, Wheeling 5
Game two saw Wheeling battle Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) opponent Millersville as they tried to split day two. The Marauders got on the board in the first and added two more runs in the top of the 2nd to take a 3-0 lead. Abby Bumbico got the start and even though she gave up the three runs early, Bumbico did enough to keep her team in the game. Her offense would reward her in the bottom of the third when Maddie Munoz and Cassi Roman walked to lead off the inning. Gina Fogle would drive in the first run of the game to make it a 3-1 game. The next batter was Marissa Sanchez, who used her speed to reach base on an error and Roman scored to make it a 3-2 game. The final run. Scored when Sanchez was thrown out trying to real and Fogle raced home to tie the game at 3-3.
However, Millersville would not back down and added six more runs in the top of the fifth, and nearly run-ruled Wheeling. However, the Cardinals stayed in the game and put up two more runs the very next inning to stay alive. After a Brooke Slomkowski single, Natalie Stoner pinch ran and stole second base. Then Oehlstrom stepped in and lifted a two-run home run, her second home run of the trip, over the left-field wall and made it a 9-5 game. The Marauders ended the game with two more runs in the seventh inning and brought the game to its final score of 11-5.
Oehlstrom led the offense going 1-3 with two RBI while Brooke Slomkowski and Taylor Hradek each added 2-4 efforts. Gina Fogle and Marissa Sanchez each added RBI in the game and Sanchez was also part of the fifth run when she had the caught stealing that allowed the fifth run to score. Abby Bumbico got the start and went 3.0 innings allowing six runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out three. Jamie Anderson threw the final four innings of the game, allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits while walking three and striking out two.
The Wheeling Softball team will return to action next Saturday, March 19th, when they play their MEC opener against Alderson Broaddus with first pitch at noon.