The UCR softball team had a busy week, largely due to hosting their field’s namesake tournament: The Amy S. Harrison Classic. The Highlanders had four games this week and picked up wins in three of them.
On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the Highlanders took home a victory in game one of a two-game series against the Siena College Saints, 9-1. UCR exploded in the third inning, scoring eight runs in a flurry kicked off by a triple from catcher Jenae Lockwood. A single by pitcher Rebecca Faulkner drove Lockwood in to break the 1-1 tie and Hannah Rodriguez kept the momentum going with another single. A walk was then issued to first baseman Brittany Garcia to load the bases, which would end Siena starting pitcher Lauren Butts’ night. That move would prove ineffectual, as pitcher Brooke Hughes would throw a wild pitch during the next at bat that scored pinch runner Sarah Galley, who came in for Faulkner earlier in the inning. Hughes would finish the at-bat by walking Sommer Wilson. While the Saints were able to pick up an out, a double by left fielder Stephanie Tickemyer drove in three runs to make the game 6-1, and the Highlanders never looked back.
The second game against Siena on Friday, Feb. 24 was another game full of offense for the Highlanders, as they won 13-0, led by second baseman Haley Harris’ Division I record-tying six runs batted in (RBI). Her six RBI’s tied the mark set by Brittney Keeney in 2009, and Harris was a home run away from hitting for the cycle. Center fielder Jenna Curtan had four RBI’s and Rodriguez chipped in two RBI’s. Pitcher Taylor Misfeldt was stellar, allowing no runs and five hits over five innings while striking out four.
The third game was the Highlanders’ only loss of the week, as they fell to Utah State in the first of two games scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25. Rodriguez had an RBI and Curtan went 2-2 with a walk, but the Highlanders could not counter the speed of the Aggies, who were able to pick up two stolen bases on the day. Utah State left fielder Rill Plogger and designated hitter Sydney Hart each registered two RBI’s for the Aggies.
The Highlanders were able to rekindle their offense in the later game of the day, taking down the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in eight innings, 6-5. The Highlanders struck fast and often, scoring and constantly having runners in scoring position in the first four innings. Maddie Richard drove in two runs in the second off a single up the middle while Faulkner picked up RBI’s in the first and fourth innings. UTEP would not leave Riverside without a fight, as they tagged Misfeldt for five runs in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game and force the Highlanders to their bullpen. UTEP threatened in the seventh due in part to a no-out walk issued by the Highlanders, but they were never able to capitalize. The Highlanders did not allow the extra innings to drag on for too long, showing a great deal of patience at the plate in the eighth inning that lead to four three-ball counts and three walks in the inning, driving in the game-winning run on a bases loaded walk.
After rematches against Siena and Utah State on Sunday, Feb. 26, the Highlanders will host Loyola Marymount University on Saturday, March 3.