Big innings offensively help Washington sweep Fairfield
Three big innings lifted No. 5 Washington to a sweep of rival Fairfield in Wednesday night’s Southeast Conference softball doubleheader.
The Demons broke a 2-2 tie in the opening game of the twin bill by scoring 10 runs in the third inning, and they went on to win 12-4. Then, in the nightcap, Washington broke open another 2-2 game by scoring three runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth to take an 8-2 victory.
Washington (3-1, 2-0 SEC) scored a run in the first inning of the opening game, but Fairfield responded with two runs in the top of the second inning. The Demons tied the game in the bottom of the second, and then scored a whopping 10 runs in the bottom of the third to break the game open.
Senior Sammy Ellingson, junior Stephanie Fishback and senior Kaitlin Buchholz started the third with consecutive singles, and then senior Joni Erwin drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home the go-ahead run. Junior Ashley Rausch followed with a two-RBI single, and then junior Grace Redlinger brought home another run with a sacrifice fly. Back-to-back Fairfield errors resulted in another two Demon runs, and then after senior Maddie Bohr drew a walk, Ellingson hit an RBI single. After another Fairfield error brought home two more runs, Buchholz drove in a run with a single.
“We had a big third inning all the way around,” Washington head coach Angie Shrader said. “Ashley threw four pitches in the third inning. Defensively, it was a quick inning for us, and it gave us some excitement. We ran the bases well and hit the ball well and forced them into some mistakes.”
Fairfield (3-3, 0-2 SEC) scored a run in the fourth inning and another in the fifth, but was unable to rally all the way back.
“The most disappointing thing was that we couldn’t bury them,” Shrader said. “We didn’t want a repeat of last year where we let them chip away and lost.”
Rausch allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits in the victory. She struck out two batters and walked five.
Fishback went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in three runs, and sophomore Kolbi Breard was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Ellingson went 2-for-3 and drove in a run, and Rausch was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Bohr also had a hit, while Erwin and Redlinger also drove in a run apiece.
Washington took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning in the second game, but Fairfield answered with two runs in the top of the fourth. The Demons tied the game in the bottom of the inning, and then added three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Ellingson and Fishback led off the fifth with back-to-back singles, and Buchholz walked to load the bases. Rausch drove in a pair of runs with a base hit, and Redlinger followed with an RBI double.
Junior Chayse Jaspering led off the sixth with a single and then stole second and third bases. Bohr followed with a walk, and she stole second. Fishback singled to load the bases with one out, and then Buchholz hit a sacrifice fly to bring home a run. Erwin and Rausch then followed with back-to-back RBI singles to put the Demons ahead 8-2.
“In the fifth and sixth innings we hit the ball well,” Shrader said.
Bohr was able to hold off the Trojans from there for the win. She allowed two runs, one of which was earned, on three hits in a complete-game performance. She struck out three batters and walked two.
Jaspering went 3-for-3 in the second game, and Ellingson was 3-for-4. Redlinger was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Erwin and Fishback both went 2-for-4 and drove in a run. Rausch had a hit and drove in three runs, and Bohr had a hit and scored two runs. Buchholz also drove in a run.
The Demons opened the conference season with a perfect 2-0 mark.
“Two wins in the conference is huge,” Shrader said. “Especially in our conference, where I think any team can contend for the conference title. It’s a good start, and we definitely like to win our home games.”
But Shrader was even more pleased with how her team responded after Friday’s 7-0 loss to Highland.
“It was nice to get two wins, but it was better that we came back after last week’s loss to Highland and played better softball,” she said.