Softball earns two wins on first day of JU Invitational
The JU softball team saw its bats finally come alive to get wins over Central Michigan, 4-0, and Jacksonville State, 5-2, in the JU Invitational on Friday night at the JU Softball Complex.

The Dolphins (4-3) used a four-run sixth inning to get the win against the Chippewas (0-2) in the first game, while sophomore Sarah Simon went 3-for-4 with three RBI, a home run and double to lead the Dolphins in the night cap.

“It’s good to get these two wins against two good teams,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “Our bats came around finally in the first game and we rode that momentum into the second game. We also had two solid performances from Sarah (Sigrest) and Olivia (Kline). We need to keep building on what we had today as the season moves along.”

Junior Sarah Sigrest (2-0) scattered three hits and struck out five batters to get complete-game shutout in the first game before nailing down a save against the Gamecocks (4-3) to close out her night. Sophomore Olivia Kline (2-1) got the win against Jacksonville State after allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits and five strikeouts in five innings of work.

Along with Simon, senior Katie Kelly also had a home run against Jacksonville State and an RBI single in the first game. Junior Amanda Schmidt finished her day going 3-for-6 with an RBI between the two games, while junior Brttany Eppley had two hits against Central Michigan.

Against Central Michigan, Sigrest retired the first 12 batters in a row before hitting Melissa Coldren with a pitch to start the Chippewas’ fifth inning. Coldren moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, while Brogan Darwin got hit by a pitch in the following at-bat. Sigrest settled down to get the next two batters to quash the threat.

In the sixth inning, freshman Jacey Warner led off with a single to right field for JU and was pinch ran for by senior Katarina Engler. Simon moved her to second on a sacrifice bunt, while Engler advanced to third on a single to left field by Eppley. Freshman Karson Tuck followed with a single to right field to score Engler and advanced to second on an error. The Dolphins made it 2-0 after senior pinch runner Annike Don slid under a tag at home to score on fielder choice by Kline. Tuck later scored on an RBI single by Kelly, while Schmidt brought home Kline on a sacrifice fly to center to round out the inning

The Chippewas opened the seventh inning with consecutive singles by Cory DeLamielleure and Darwin. Sigrest caught a line drive in the next at-bat before inducing a game-ending double play ball to third base to secure the win.

Kara Dornbus (0-1) took the loss for Central Michigan after allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits in six innings.

Against Jacksonville State, the Dolphins took a 2-0 lead on home run to center by Kelly to plate Schmidt, who led off with a single. Jacksonville State starter and eventual losing pitcher Savanna Hennings struck out the next two JU batters before Simon pelted a ball over the center field fence to extend the Dolphins lead.

Junior Kayla Ouellet and Warner opened fifth inning with back-to-back singles, while Simon cleared the bases with a double to right-center field to give JU a 5-0 advantage.

The Gamecocks got on the board in the bottom of the inning on a two-out single from Kelci Johnson to score Hayden Crawford.

In the Jacksonville State sixth inning, Kline hit Amanda Crow with a pitch and allowed a single to Tiffany Harbin. Kline was lifted for Sigrest, who gave up a single to load the bases. After a shallow fly out, pinch hitter Kristin Graham plated Crow with a deep sacrifice fly to left field. Sigrest froze Crawford on a third strike call in the next at-bat to get out of the jam.

Sigrest pitched a scoreless seventh to secure the win for the Dolphins.

Hennings (1-1) allowed all five runs, but struck out eight in four innings of work, while Hilary Phillips tossed three scoreless relief frames for the Gamecocks.

The Dolphins continue the JU Invitational tomorrow with the Chippewas at 3:30 p.m. before closing the day against in-state rival Florida A&M at 5:45 p.m.