Tiger softball drops games at USCAA tournament

The Iowa Wesleyan softball team competed in their final two games of the USCAA Invite hosted by St. Mary College of the Woods on Sunday after dropping their first two games of the tournament Saturday.

The Tigers faced off against Cleary University to start the day and were looking to bounce back from a loss the day before. IW trailed by two runs heading into the seventh, but gave up six runs in the top of the final inning to fall 15-7 to the Cougars. Iowa Wesleyan wrapped up the day with a non-conference contest against Robert Morris University-Springfield. The Tigers held a one run lead, but the Eagles took the lead in the fifth inning and went on to win 4-3.

In their game against the Cougars, IW trailed after giving up two home runs in the topf of the first inning. The Tigers were able to get a run back after Alex Eyman took advantage of a walk with two outs. She advanced to second on a passed ball and stole third. Eyman scored the first run after another passed ball by Cleary.

Iowa Wesleyan cut the lead to 2-4 in the bottom of the third. Serena Almodovar singled down the left field line, and IW loaded the bases after McKenzie Copher was hit by a pitch and Jena Miller drew a walk. Chelbie Gillespie drove in a run for the Tigers with a sacrifice fly to center field. IW was unable to plate any more runs and stranded three runners at the end of the inning.

The Tigers trailed 9-4 at the end of the fifth inning. IW had RBIs from Alex Eyman and Julie Dodd, but once again they failed to take advantage of runners on base by stranding two at the end of the inning.

The Iowa Wesleyan defense held Cleary scoreless in the top of the sixth and had a three-run bottom half of the inning to get within two of the Cougar lead. Jaiden Rogers doubled to right center field to lead off the inning. Jena Miller drove in the first run, bringing home Rogers, with a single to the catcher. Sydnee Stalker lined out to center field, but two runs would score on the play, and the score would move to 9-7.

Cleary had a big seventh inning, scoring six runs to take a 15-7 lead over Iowa Wesleyan. IW came to the plate in the bottom of the seventh hoping to get a rally going, but they couldn?t get the bats going against the Cougars. Iowa Wesleyan recorded seven hits and six runs batted in against the Cougars.

Iowa Wesleyan looked to bounce back against the Eagles in their final game of the day. After trailing by two through the first two innings, the Tigers were finally able to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Tigers hit back to back doubles to get the offense going. Miller started off with a double to right field with one out, and Haley Varga followed with a double down the left field line, bring in Miller for the first run for IW. Alex Eyman hit a sacrifice fly to left field, driving in Varga to tie the game up at 2-2. Samantha McIlwain gave the Tigers the lead with an RBI to the catcher. IW recorded four hits in the inning and stranded two runners, but they held a 3-2 lead at the end of the inning.

Robert Morris-Springfield scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning to regain the lead. They recorded two hits and scored on a single and a stolen base. IW failed to score for the remainder of the game and suffered a 4-3 loss to the Eagles.

Ashley Machholz and Haley Varga each had two hits against Robert Morris. Varga and McIlwain had one RBI a piece in the loss.

IW is now 1-11 on the season and will return to action against Fontbonne University on March 21. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. in St. Louis, Mo.