Colonials take first of three-game series against Mastodons


Erika Bell swats a triple against Purdue Fort Wayne. Photo credit: Cameron Macariola

Kevin Plowcha

MOON TOWNSHIP— Robert Morris softball looked to extend their winning streak to five games on Friday afternoon as they took on Purdue Fort Wayne (7-32, 6-12) in the first of a three-game home series. They did just that as the Colonials (23-13, 12-3) won by a score of 11-6.

Dana Vatakis was on the mound for the Colonials and established herself early, putting down the first three Mastodons batters in order. It took her just seven pitches in the top of the first inning.

The RMU offense gave Vatakis early run support in the bottom of the first inning, scoring three runs. The Mastodons didn’t help themselves, as they committed two errors in that frame.

A two-RBI double blasted to center field by Taylor Rhinehart got the Colonials on the board, and a Meadow Sacadura RBI groundout extended the lead to 3-0 after one inning.

The Mastodons would get on the board in the top half of the 2nd inning, scoring on an RBI groundout. PFW threatened to continue their scoring, as they had a runner on second, but Vatakis limited the damage.

The Colonial bats would continue to stay hot in the bottom of the 2nd inning. A two-out single by Alaina Koutsogiani turned into a runner in scoring position for the Colonials, as Koutsogiani stole her 32nd base of the season.

Anna Resnik hit an RBI single, scoring Koutsogiani, and gave RMU a three-run lead once again.

Following that, Erika Bell smashed an RBI triple to right field, giving the Colonials a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning.

Charlotte Grover got in on the action as well, hitting an RBI double which scored Bell. All of these hits came with two outs.

After two innings, Robert Morris led 6-1 over Purdue Fort Wayne.

Head coach Jexx Varner expressed his reaction to the offensive explosion.

“We showed what we are capable of offensively,” Varner said. “I was very pleased.”

At the top of the third, Purdue Fort Wayne couldn’t get anything going. Dana Vatakis looked comfortable and set the Mastodons down in order.

The Colonials threatened to add to their lead with runners on 2nd and 3rd, but could not capitalize. The score remained 6-1 after three innings.

In the top of the fourth, an error by RMU allowed a Purdue Fort Wayne runner on base, but she would be stranded at 2nd. The top of the fourth was another scoreless one pitched by Dana Vatakis.

Varner talked about Vatakis’ recent success.

“She’s a high-level player,” Varner said. “She throws it well and consistently to keep people guessing.”

The bottom of the fourth came and went quickly, as the Colonials went down in order. After four innings, RMU still led 6-1.

The Mastodons would cut into the RMU lead in the top of the fifth inning, as Brayden Lickey crushed a 2-run HR to left-center field, making it a 6-3 ballgame.

Dana Vatakis would get the next two batters out before issuing a walk, but no more damage came from it.

A leadoff walk by Taylor Rhinehart in the bottom of the fifth inning was followed by back-to-back fielder’s choices. Avery Winchell grounded out to end the inning, stranding a runner.

After five innings, the Colonials led 6-3.

Dana Vatakis returned to the mound for RMU in the top of the sixth but began to show signs of fatigue.

After giving up a double, an RBI single by Thais Uyema cut the lead to 6-4. Vatakis limited the damage, though, not allowing any more runs.

The Colonials re-extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth, as Alaina Koutsogiani made her way to 3rd base after an error and a stolen base. Erika Bell scored Koutsogiani with an RBI single, making it a 7-4 ballgame.

RMU gave themselves some more insurance in this inning. After a Charlotte Grover RBI single, Bailee Bertani walked with the bases loaded, extending the RMU lead to 9-4.

Another bases-loaded walk from Shaina Eyre extended the RMU lead to 10-4 and ended Eyre’s day.

The offense continued to click as Madison Shiderly hit a bloop single to give RMU an 11-4 lead as the sixth inning came to a close.

The Mastodons tried to rally in the top of the seventh inning, scoring two runs, but Madison DeVault closed out the game to give the Colonials the win.

Dana Vatakis gets the win, and the Colonials move to 23-13 overall and 12-3 in Horizon League play.

Erika Bell, who hit the first triple of her Colonials career today, mentioned the atmosphere following the team’s five-game win streak.

“At this point, everyone’s relaxed,” Bell said. “We know that we’re good, we know where we are in the conference standings, and we will do whatever we can to keep this energy alive.”

The Colonials have a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon against the Mastodons to end the series. The games are scheduled for 1:00 PM and 3:30 PM.