ROCKFORD, Ill. – Today at Smith Athletic Field, the Mount Mary University softball team split a two-game series with the host Rockford University Regents. The Regents (5-35) defeated MMU by a score of 6-5 in game one, then the Blue Angels (7-19) turned a five-run sixth inning into a 13-8 win over Rockford in game two.
Haley Jacquez (So./Oakley, Calif.) led game one off with a single, then starting pitcher Adrianna Nester (So./Anaheim, Calif.) walked on base to put the pressure on the Regent defense early. Senior Payton Hintz (Almond, Wis.) stepped up to the plate and drilled a double down the left field line to score one run and set the subsequent run up to score on a wild pitch.
Rockford answered right back when a two-out single to left field scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Then the Regents tacked on four runs in the bottom half of the second when a leadoff error was followed by four consecutive base hits.
MMU came right back in the top of the third and put their first two runners in the inning on base via walk. After a Michaela Buchholz (So./Germantown, Wis.) sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Payton Hintz hit a sacrifice fly to center field to record her third RBI of the game and cut the deficit to three. Hannah Harnsberger (So./Hillsboro, Ore.) followed that up with a double to score the runner from third and to make things 6-4.
The Blue Angels scored one more run in the top of the sixth inning of a Regent error but could not add runs in the seventh which resulted in the 6-5 final.
Nester was dealt the loss in the circle and is 3-10 on the season. She pitched 6.0 innings surrendering nine hits and five earned runs while striking out five.
Harnsberger led the offense in game one going 2-of-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI. Hintz finished game one 1-of-2 with a double and three RBIs.
The Blue Angels started off the second game with a pair of hits. Jacquez and Harnsberger both singled, then Nester grounded out to second to get the RBI and the lead. Hintz followed that up with an RBI double to left field, then Haley Johnson (So./Germantown, Wis.) sent Hintz home on a gutsy two-out bunt single.
MMU scored again in the second inning to stretch out their lead. With two outs, the Blue Angels strung together three base hits and a walk to bring home a pair of runs and make the score 5-0.
Harnsberger had trouble getting out the Regents in the bottom half of the second. A leadoff single then double had Rockford threatening with no outs. A bases-clearing double after two runs had already scored tied things at 5-5, but Harnsberger bounced back and forced the next two batters to groundout to get out of the inning.
In her final collegiate outing, Payton Hintz answered the call yet again in the top of fourth inning. The senior laced a two-out double to center to give the Blue Angels a 6-5 lead. RU came right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie it at 6-6 on a single up the middle.
The Blue Angels resiliency paid off in the sixth inning. A clutch two out single from Nester game MMU a one-run lead. Three more Regent errors and a triple from Haley Johnson, gave the Blue Angels a five-run lead.
The Regents nipped away with a two-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth, but Payton Hintz added another RBI to her totals in her final collegiate at-bat. The senior singled down the right side to give MMU a 13-8 lead and the eventual victory.
Harnsberger got the win in the decision and is now 4-10 on the season. She finished 7.0 innings striking out one and surrendering 11 hits and eight earned runs.
Hintz led at the dish going a perfect 4-of-4 with a walk, two doubles and five RBIs.
Now 7-19, the Blue Angels will transition into offseason mode after a very successful finish to the 2018 campaign. For news, updates and stories on the Blue Angels, visit mtmaryathletics.com.