GREENVILLE, Ill. – The Panthers earned wins in their first back-to-back contests of 2012 on Wednesday night, outlasting visiting Grinnell College 5-1 in the twinbill’s opener and 6-4 in the nightcap at Lady Panther Field.
With the pair of victories, GC softball advances to 3-11 with four more non-conference battles still to be decided before SLIAC play officially opens on Thursday, March 29. The women are now winners of three of their last four contests and will look to build momentum heading into the first of an eight-game road-trip starting on Monday against Robert Morris - Springfield.
Wednesday night’s opener saw GC take an early advantage on timely Grinnell errors, scoring runs in the first and third on passed balls to jump out to a 2-0 lead heading into the fifth frame. Grinnell offered a scare in the top of the fifth, adding a run on a wild pitch to trim the margin to 2-1, but Greenville answered with a string of hits that eventually plated three runs to add enough insurance for the eventual 5-1 victory.
Both freshman Amy Sheets and senior Brya Irvin headlined the women’s efforts at plate. Sheets went 1-for-3 with a clutch RBI, and Irvin posted a 1-for-4 showing with two runs scored and a timely double. As a squad the Panthers only tallied four hits, but proved productive in the 5-1 rout.
In the circle it was senior Lindsay Schuberth (1-5) that earned the win, posting her first decision of the 2012 season. Schuberth dominated the opener, tossing a six-inning, four hit gem with no earned runs and three strikeouts. Fellow senior Angela Sheets saw relief action in the seventh and retired the side with two strikeouts to help seal the 5-1 spread.
In the nightcap, Greenville exploded in the bottom of the first innings with a four-run flurry that overwhelmed the Grinnell defense. In the leadoff spot, junior Angie Doherty started the hit parade with a crushed triple to left. Irvin followed Doherty’s lead with a RBI single, and sophomore shortstop Mattie Fairchild added a double of her own to put two on with one out for Sheets. With the score already 2-0 in favor of the home team, the freshman struck a two-RBI double that advanced the lead to 4-0 after one. Grinnell eventually responded with a late push that closed the margin to 4-3 but the Black & Orange had a two-run answer in the bottom the sixth to close the match 6-4.
Freshman pitcher Jessica Laubecher (2-1) claimed the win on the mound for the Panthers, dishing a complete-game, eight hit effort with four earned. The freshman also posted six strikeouts to help tame the Grinnell batters.
As Laubecher did her part in the circle, so did the bats of the Black & Orange. GC served up six runs on 11 hits with only one strikeout through 30 overall batters. Fairchild headlined the production, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI. Irvin again shined offensively hitting 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, and Sheets posted consecutive RBI contests with her 2-for-3, two RBI addition.
Greenville softball will return to the diamond on Monday, March 26 as they travel to Robert Morris University for double-header with first pitch scheduled for 4:00 pm.