Colonials split doubleheader to earn a spot in Horizon League Tournament


Faith Miller connects with a pitch against Cleveland State. Photo Credit: Ethan Morrison

Ethan Morrison

CLEVELAND – Robert Morris needed just one win to punch their ticket into the postseason after last weekend’s series against Northern Kentucky was canceled. Robert Morris looked to head into the Horizon League Softball Tournament for the first time as they took on Cleveland State Friday afternoon for the first two games of a four-game set.

GAME 1: Colonials 4, Vikings 3 F/8

W: Rachel Rhinehart 3.0 IP 1 H 6K 0 ER

L: Alexa Sieger 8.0 IP 8 H 2 K 4 ER 4 BB

In the bottom half of the first inning, CSU gave some run support to pitcher Alexa Sieger as Mackenzie Tucker doubled home the first run of the ballgame. Becky Hurosky added one more to the Cleveland State lead with an RBI single.

After a rough first inning for Vatakis, she recovered, pitching two scoreless frames including a double play to end the bottom of the third.

Robert Morris looked to chip into the two-run deficit in the fourth inning which started with a Charlotte Grover infield single that tipped off of Sieger’s glove. That single paid dividends for the Colonials as Avery Winchell crushed a double into the left-center field gap allowing Grover to score all the way from first. This put RMU within a run of Cleveland State.

Robert Morris continued to be aggressive setting up runners at second and third with one out. A single from Catalina Saxen tied up the game at two apiece.

With runners at the corners and only one out, Rachel Rhinehart hit a solid grounder right back to the pitcher Sieger who completed the 1-3 putout, but aggressive baserunning by Natalie Higgins paid off for the Colonials as she slid feet first into home plate to put Robert Morris ahead by a run.

RMU briefly held the lead but the game was tied up the next time the Colonials hit the field as Becky Hurosky continued her impressive day at the dish crushing a ball out to right field to tie the game up at three.

After both teams failed to score the decisive game-winning run in the seventh, RMU was headed into yet another extra-inning contest.

After two walks, a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch, Robert Morris scored to take the lead 4-3 in extra innings. Rachel Rhinehart and the Colonials would hold the fort, striking out two and sealing the deal for RMU in game one.

GAME 2: Vikings 5, Colonials 3

W: Hannah Griffin 7.0 IP 11 H 2 K 3 ER

L: Jane Garver 6.0 IP 8 H 2 BB 7 SO 5 ER

Cleveland State once again got off to a fast start at the plate attacking Jane Garver.

The Vikings put the ball in play constantly in the first which resulted in two errors committed by Robert Morris that gave way to CSU’s first run of the contest.

Robert Morris got that run right back in the top of the second thanks to a Madison Shiderly sacrifice fly to deep centerfield.

Kiera Frascone gave the Vikings the lead back in the fourth with a solo shot to left field and the Vikings weren’t done in that inning, tacking on two more runs off of a Gabby Shackelford hit a pinch-hit double.

The run-scoring continued as Sydney Bajusz took Garver deep to extend their lead to four in the bottom half of the sixth.

The Colonials scored two runs in the seventh inning, but it was too little too late as they would end up losing the game by two.

These two teams will square off again tomorrow afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 12:00 p.m.