CHICAGO – A two-out walk-off double was the highlight of a five-hit day for senior slugger Maeve Garvey as she drove in six runs to propel the University of Chicago softball team to 8-7 and 9-0 victories in a doubleheader against Finlandia University on Tuesday at Stagg Field.
The Maroons improved their record to 9-11 and now hold a 3-1 mark at home. The Lions dropped to 7-19, snapping a four-game winning streak.
Both games saw the Maroon offense build large early leads. In the opener, however, Finlandia stormed back with five runs in the top of the seventh, bringing the contest to the brink of extra innings before the hosts claimed the walk-off win. The second game paired another offensive outburst with shutout pitching, allowing UChicago to dispatch the Lions in just five innings.
The first game turned on Garvey's 4-for-5 performance with two doubles. First-year left fielder Lainey Hughes went 3-for-3 with two RBI and first-year catcher Katie O'Donnell went 2-for-3 with a walk in the leadoff spot.
First-year pitcher Bethany Regnerus (6-3) earned the win in the opening contest, pitching the first six innings before returning to make the final out. Regnerus allowed two runs on four hits while walking three and striking out three. Junior Megan Stoppelman relieved her to begin the seventh, striking out two batters but conceding four walks and five unearned runs.
Senior pitcher Jordyne Prussak (2-5) tossed four one-hit innings to start the second game while striking out three, with Stoppelman returning for a scoreless fifth.
Nine different Maroons hit safely in the second fixture, with Garvey and sophomore catcher Gabi Angelloti driving in two runs apiece. First-year left fielder Samantha Lauro followed up a pinpoint pinch-hit bunt in the first game with another bunt for a hit and a single. She scored each of the three times she reached base in the second contest, as well as in her pinch-hit appearance.
As a team, the Maroons stole eight bases and drew 12 walks on the day.
Game One – UChicago 8, Finlandia 7
After sending the Lions down in order to start the day, the Maroons got going early as O'Donnell smacked a leadoff double off the centerfield wall. After a grounder moved her over to third, Garvey pounded another ball of the wall to plate the first run. A pair of walks filled the bases before junior shortstop Emma Nelson was hit by a pitch, scoring Garvey. Senior first base Carly Schulz then pulled a ball into left field where a diving catch saved multiple runs and ended the inning.
To begin the next Maroon at-bat, junior center fielder Christie Ambrose battled for a walk and then stole second, leaving her in position to score when Garvey slashed a double to right center.
Finlandia got on the board in the top of the third but the Maroons responded quickly, as first-year third base Savannah Pinedo reached with a single and scored on Hughes' ensuing double. Schulz then scalded a ball along the third-base line into left field to put runners on the corners. Clever base running allowed Hughes to steal home as Schulz baited the defense into a rundown between first and second, eventually scampering safely back to first.
The 5-1 lead did not last long as Finlandia led off the fourth inning with a home run that dropped just over the left field fence. In the bottom of that frame the Maroons once again used the base paths well to get a run over, this time as senior infielder Colleen Bennett stole second and scored on a single from Hughes.
In the bottom of the fifth UChicago loaded the bases with none out, but only managed to score once on Garvey's third hit of the day.
The hosts still held a comfortable 7-2 advantage after a scoreless sixth, but Finlandia rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh on a combination of four walks, two singles, a hit batter and an error.
With the game now tied, a grounder and a strikeout left UChicago one out away from extra innings. Sophomore right fielder Abby Hayes earned a walk, however, providing the opportunity for Garvey to deliver yet again as she powered the ball through the wind into right center for the walk-off win.
Game Two – UChicago 9, Finlandia 0
Garvey and the Maroons picked up where they left off to start the next game, as Lauro's bunt single and a single from Hayes put the first two runners on. After a passed ball moved them to second and third, a pair of groundouts from Garvey and Angellotti scored two.
As the Lions struggled to deal with Prussak's pitching, UChicago added four more in the bottom of the third. Lauro poked the ball through the middle for a leadoff single and stole second, then moved to third on a grounder before scoring on a single from Garvey. After a single from Angellotti, a fielder's choice left Bennett on first and pinch runner Linette Pan on third. The Maroons successfully executed a double steal to bring Pan home, then Nelson drove in Bennett. Two passed balls allowed Nelson to get around, leaving it 6-0 in favor of the hosts.
Having seen their last lead vanish, UChicago pressed on in the fourth, loading the bases with two walks and an infield single from Pan. Angellotti's sacrifice fly, a wild pitch and Bennett's single made the final tally of nine runs. Finlandia could only muster a pair of singles in response, bringing the contest to a conclusion after four-and-a-half innings.
- Saturday, April 13 @ 2:00 PM / 4:00 PM – UChicago at Illinois Wesleyan University / vs. Millikin University (at Bloomington, Ill.)