Eagles Drop Doubleheader Against No. 16 Mavericks

Photo Courtesy: Zachary Carlson, CSC Sports Information

Chadron State College played a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference home doubleheader on Friday afternoon against No. 16 Colorado Mesa University. The two games were polar opposites in the way they played out, with Mesa shooting past the Eagles to a 15-2 win in the later innings of game one, and CSC taking a four-run lead in game two, only to see the Mavericks rally to an extra-inning win.
 
“Where we fell short in the first game,” said CSC Head Softball Coach Kaley Ness, “was making too few adjustments when we needed to make them.”
 
Each team scored once, both runs unearned, in the second inning of game one.
 
The CMU bats came alive in the fourth, and four more runs crossed for the Mavericks. Freshman Ally Distler did most of the work herself, hitting a three-run home run with one out.
 
CSC freshman first baseman Jessie Henchenski responded with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-2 Mavericks.
 
Mesa added a solo homer in the fifth to lead off the inning, and then proceeded to reel off 14 at-bats in the sixth.
 
In the decisive sixth inning, the Mavs got six hits and five walks to put nine runs on the board, and CSC was unable to close the gap at all, invoking the eight-run mercy rule.
 
Junior Gabby Russell fell to 4-3 in the circle for CSC, while CMU’s Paige Adair improved to 15-1.
 
Game two was quite the different story. After trailing 4-2 going into the bottom of the second, CSC rallied to lead 8-4, then 10-6 after five innings. However they allowed two runs each in the sixth and seventh, forcing the game to eight. A single, a sacrifice bunt, and another single was all CMU needed to grab the lead at 11-10, and the Eagles left winning runs on base in both the seventh and eighth innings.
 
Mesa uncharacteristically committed three fielding errors in the later game, allowing the Eagles two unearned runs. CSC also had one error which did not result in a score.
 
Henchenski batted 6-for-8 on the day, driving in six runs and scoring once. One of her hits was a double and she had the homer in the early game.
 
Paige Adair, a junior for the Mavs, improved to 15-1 winning game two.
 
Russell, now 4-4, pitched 11 2/3 innings receiving both losses, but held the number two batter in NCAA Division II to a 3-for-8 day in the batter’s box.
 
“Gabby’s a workhorse,” said Ness, “and she’ll do anything for her team. Today they needed her out there in the circle. She gave us the best opportunity to win, and she did a really good job of getting us ground balls and pop flies. That’s what we want our pitcher to do.
 
“It was great to see our hitters bounce back and respond to giving up the lead. I’m really proud of the adjustments they made. Even though they struggled on a few things, overall, they did a good job adjusting.”
 
The Eagles and Mavericks are back at it for another doubleheader and Senior Day recognition on Saturday at CSC Softball Field.

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