Softball falls twice to open JU Tournament
The late innings snake bite the JU softball team once again as the Dolphins let leads get away from them in losses to Presbyterian , 5-2, and Iowa State, 4-2, on Friday in the first day of the JU Tournament at the JU Softball Complex.

The Dolphins (1-7) led early against the Blue Hose (1-1) in the first game, but Presbyterian scored four runs in the final two innings to earn the win. JU had a pair of home runs from senior Alexis Novak and junior Kelly McKeon to lead against the Cyclones (6-0) until Iowa State tied it with a two-run home run in the sixth and won the game with a pair of runs in the seventh inning.

Junior Shannon Monahan recorded three hits in two games, including a home run against Presbyterian, to pace the JU offense. Mckeon, sophomore Kayla Ouellet and freshman Brie Carmack each finished with two hits on the day to help the cause.

“I may sound like a broken record, but we have to close out games,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “We hit well today even though we left more runners on base than I like. The process to putting all our facets together is slow, but as long as we keep working hard then good things will come.”

Freshman Sarah Sigrest (1-4) took the loss for JU against Presbyterian, allowing five runs on six hits and eight strikeouts in six innings.

Junior Brittany Abbot (0-1) was tagged for the loss in relief against the Cyclones after surrendering two runs (one earned) on two hits in 1.2 innings, while junior Ashley Iveson took a no-decision with two runs on three hits and five strikeouts in 5.1 innings to start the game.

In the first game, Novak opened the second inning getting hit by Blue Hose starter and eventual winning pitcher Leslie Hensley. Junior Ashley Mora reached on infield bunt single in the next at bat to move Novak to second., while Carmack scored Novak on a single up the middle to give JU a 1-0 advantage.

Mary Gordon led off the Blue Hose’ third inning with a single to left field. Gordon was pinch ran for by Morgan White, who stole second during the next at bat and moved to third on a single by Krysten Handy. Amanda Miller followed with a run-scoring ground out to plate White and tie the game at one a piece.

In the fifth inning, Presbyterian catcher Laura Tate Owings opened with a ground ball single to center. Sigrest struck out the next two batters, but issued a walk to Handy. Against Miller, Sigrest had two strikes, but left a breaking ball over the plate which she drove over the left field fence to give the Blue Hose a 4-1 lead.

Hensley helped her own cause by recording an RBI triple in the seventh inning to give Presbyterian a 5-1 advantage.

With two outs in JU’s seventh inning, Monahan hit a solo home run to make it a 5-2 ballgame. Ouellet followed with a single to left field, but Hensley quashed the rally by getting a groundout from sophomore Katie Kelly to end the game.

Hensley (1-0) allowed two runs on eight hits to get the win in the circle.

Against the Cyclones, Mckeon hit a home run in the second inning and Novak homered in the fourth inning to give JU a 2-0 lead.

Iveson kept the Cyclones off balanced by allowing just a hit through the first five innings to keep JU in the driver’s seat.

With one out in the sixth inning, Alex Johnson recorded a single through the left side for the Cyclones’ second hit of the game off Iveson. Syndi Jones tied the game in the next at bat with a home run to left center field.

The Cyclones plated the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on an RBI single from Amanda Bradberry. Bradberry scored in the following at bat to make it 4-2 when the Dolphins dropped a ball trying to get Alex Johnson in a rundown advancing to second after a fielder’s choice.

Cyclones’ starter Rachel Zabriskie (4-0) retired the Dolphins’ in order over the final two innings to get her second win of the day in the circle. Zabriskie struck out seven batters and allowed five hits in the win.

Like against JU, the Cyclones rallied from 5-0 deficit in the first game of the tournament against the Blue Hose to take a 6-5 win in extra innings.

The Dolphins will look for revenge against the Cyclones tomorrow at 10 a.m. to start second day of the tournament. JU closes out the day against Presbyterian at 2 p.m., while the Cyclones and Blue Hose have the middle game at noon. Both JU games can be seen live online through A-Sun.TV.