Courtesy University of Central Arkansas Athletics Department
The Central Arkansas softball team played their last game of the Belmont Spring Kickoff Tournament on Sunday morning, falling 7-3 to Valparaiso.
The Crusaders (2-1) wasted little time in getting on the board. Right fielder Kaitlyn Ranieri drew a walk to start the game and advanced to second on a single by third baseman Joylyn Ichiyama. Designated player Brittany Duncan ripped a double to left center, plating Ranieri and giving Valpo a 1-0 lead.
The Bears (2-2) responded immediately, when right fielder Sam Forrest led off the bottom of the first inning by blasting her first home run as a Bear over the fence in left center field.
The score remained tied at 1-1 until the top of the fifth inning, when the Crusaders erupted for six runs. A Central Arkansas error allowed the first run of the inning to score and gave Valpo a runner on second with one out. Three singles in a row pushed the lead to 4-1, and center fielder Amanda Wisniewski blasted a three-run homer to left-center field to extend the lead to 7-1.
Central Arkansas was unable to score again until the bottom of the seventh inning. Singles by Melanie Bryant, Ashley Boswell, and Jessie Taylor loaded the bases with one out. Shortstop Lissa Avitia rapped a single to left field making the score 7-2. Third baseman Tiffany Roby hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Boswell and make the score 7-3, but a pop up to the shortstop ended the Central Arkansas rally.
Kelsie Armstrong (1-2) started for the Bears, throwing 4.2 innings and allowing seven runs, only one of which was earned. She struck out three while allowing nine hits and one walk. Ciara Clampitt relieved Armstrong in the fifth inning and threw 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out two Crusaders. Amanda Bolton (1-0) picked up the complete game victory for Valpo. She allowed three runs, 11 hits, and two walks while striking out four in her seven innings of work.
Central Arkansas travels to Pine Bluff on Wednesday to face off with in-state rival Arkansas-Pine Bluff. They head to Mobile, Alabama next weekend to participate in South Alabama’s Mardi Gras Invitational Tournament. They will play four games over the weekend.