Wildcats split doubleheader

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softball2.jpg:Sophomore Stephanie Allen practices her swing in Mabee Gym with freshman Morgan Rinck and sophomore Jayde Allen. The team has been practicing indoors because of a muddy field. :

The youthful Baker University softball team got its feet wet in a season-opening doubleheader Wednesday at Park University in Parkville, Mo. The Wildcats came home 1-1.

In the first game, the 'Cats put pressure on Park early, loading the bases in the first inning. However, Baker failed to score in the top half of the inning when the next two batters struck out, and a fly-out ended the threat.

Park took the momentum of a big stop and scored two runs in the bottom half of the first.

Trailing 2-0 going into the third, the Wildcat bats came alive as they scored three runs in the inning.

Senior shortstop Kendra Cody started the rally with a single, and sophomore catcher Alexis Pryor followed with a hit of her own. Senior first baseman Leslie Kersting got the 'Cats on the board when she drove in both Cody and Pryor.

Freshman third baseman Kelsey Epperson gave the 'Cats the lead when her hit drove in Baker's third run of the game.

The back-and-forth of the game continued as Park tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the third and took a 4-3 lead in the fifth.

Baker once again battled back to tie the game in the sixth and push the game to the seventh.

Both teams failed to score in the seventh and the game went into an international tiebreaker, in which the offensive team started the inning with a runner on second.

Freshman pitcher Stephanie Nelson started the top half of the eighth on second and proceeded to swipe third for the 'Cats. Sophomore outfielder Jayde Allen drove in the eventual game-winning run when she plated Nelson with an RBI double.

With two outs and two runners on base, Park threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but Nelson finished off her first collegiate win in the circle by striking out the final batter of the game.

Nelson finished the game with five strikeouts.

"I was really nervous before the game, but once I got out there I felt fine and everything started to flow alright," she said.

The Wildcats managed to pound out 15 hits in their first game of the year.

Freshman second baseman Marriann Dugan, who went 4-7 on the day and played errorless ball, said she had to overcome early nerves to be successful.

"I was really nervous at the start of the game, but then in the first game I went 3-4 and got the game ball, which was really exciting," she said. "I just had to calm the nerves because I was really excited."

Cody said the first game out was a challenge, but it went pretty well for the youthful team.

"For our first time seeing dirt in a while it wasn't bad," she said. "It was the first time we have seen live pitching, and the first game was good, but the second game wasn't so great."

Cody said the second game showed the team's youth, and inconsistency became a problem as the 'Cats managed just four hits in a 4-1 loss.

"We need to be more consistent hitting-wise, and our defense wasn't very good," Cody said. "We had quite a few errors. I think we need to work on keeping the momentum going into the second game."

The Wildcats will look to improve when they play in the Show Me Tournament Saturday and Sunday in Springfield, Mo. drove in Baker's third run of the game.

The back-and-forth of the game continued as Park tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the third and took a 4-3 lead in the fifth.

Baker once again battled back to tie the game in the sixth and push the game to the seventh.

Both teams failed to score in the seventh and the game went into an international tiebreaker, in which the offensive team started the inning with a runner on second.

Freshman pitcher Stephanie Nelson started the top half of the eighth on second and proceeded to swipe third for the 'Cats. Sophomore outfielder Jayde Allen drove in the eventual game-winning run when she plated Nelson with an RBI double.

With two outs and two runners on base, Park threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but Nelson finished off her first collegiate win.

Nelson finished the game with five strikeouts.

"I was really nervous before the game, but once I got out there I felt fine," she said.

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