By RANGERS ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT
Despite a 3-for-7 day with five RBI’s and two runs from senior Amber Mills, the Rangers were defeated by Great American Conference foe Southern Nazarene in both games on Saturday afternoon. The Rangers were defeated in the weekend series 3-1, and struggled in the circle throughout the day, giving up 28 hits to the Crimson Storm.
The Rangers sported purple jerseys in honor of Domestic Violence Appreciation Day as well as purple laces and teal ribbons.
The Crimson Storm offense got started early in the first game with three runs thanks to a lead-off double that was followed up by a single two batters later to put the opening run on the board. Southern Nazarene strung together two more singles behind that to finish off the inning with three runs before a ground-out to third baseman Brittany Corrales finally ended the inning.
Starting pitcher Madison Garza blanked the visiting team in the second frame, but allowed four more runners to cross in the top half of the third inning. Garza lasted three innings in which she allowed seven runs on 10 hits before being relieved by sophomore Jalena Arthur.
Arthur didn’t allow any more runs to cross in the top half of the fourth inning, allowing the Rangers to finally jump on the board in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a lead-off homerun for Mills to centerfield, her third homer of the season. Mills ignited the middle half of the line-up with junior Madison Parrott following up the lead-off blast with a single.
Parrott finished the day going 3-for-5 with two runs and was also hit at the plate twice. Parrott’s walk was followed up by a walk from junior Madison Mcgraw, and an infield fly from Corrales moved both Parrott and McGraw over a base to give junior Maci Madewell runners on second and third. Madewell drove in her first RBI of the day with a grounder to the shortstop, before a pop-up ended the rally for the Rangers.
The Storm produced a lead-off blast of their own in the next frame, giving them an 8-2 advantage before Arthur settled in and retired three of the next four batters. Northwestern’s offense continued to struggle, as they netted just two hits during the first game, moving the ballgame into the top half of the sixth, where the Storm offense once again got on a roll and scored the four runs they needed for the 10-run rule to come into effect when the Rangers failed to answer in the bottom half of the inning, ending the game with a final of 12-2 in six innings.
Arthur tossed three innings in relief duty while allowing four earned runs on four hits. Mills and Parrott smacked the lone Ranger hits during the game.
The Ranger’s offense answered their poor performance in the first game by filling up the stat sheet in the second game with 14 hits and two homeruns. After a scoreless frame for both squad’s in the first inning, Mills knocked in catcher Audrey Estes for the opening run in what would prove to be an offensive clinic for both teams. The Storm starter walked in sophomore Karly Murray for the second run of the inning, before Murray turned around and gave up six runs to the Storm in the top half of the third inning.
Murray went all seven innings during the game, but allowed 11 earned runs while striking out four.
The Rangers answered the onslaught of runs with a huge rally of their own in the bottom half of the third, where Estes, Mills and McGraw all drove in runs to put the Rangers back on top 7-6.
Estes went 2-for-4 during the game with an RBI and two runs while McGraw also posted a 2-for-4 performance with an RBI herself.
Murray tossed two scoreless frames in the following innings, before Madewell’s sixth homerun of the year gave the Rangers an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Southern Nazarene knocked two balls over the fence in the top half of the seventh, both being two-run shots that put them back on top 11-8 in the back-and-forth barnburner.
A lead-off walk from Murray sent centerfielder Peyton Garrett to the plate, in which she knocked yet another ball over the wall to bring the Rangers within one run. The Storm answered by retiring Mills, McGraw and Madewell in order, capturing their second game of the day and the series victory.