HILLSBORO, Kan. – The Southwestern College softball team split a pair of Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference contests against the Tabor College Bluejays Saturday afternoon. The Lady Builders defeated Tabor, 4-2, in the opener, but came up on the short end of an 11-6 decision in the second game. Both games took place at the Hillsboro Sports Complex in Hillsboro, Kan.
Game 1 – Southwestern 4, Tabor 2
Freshman Lauren Syrup tossed a career-best 12 strikeouts, and allowed just two runs on four hits in Saturday's opener, but Tabor (12-26, 4-7 KCAC) held Southwestern (9-20, 4-7 KCAC) off the board for six innings. The Lady Builder bats finally caught up with Bluejay pitching in the fourth, and Southwestern rallied for the 4-2 win.
Tabor plated the first run of the game in the second inning, and held a 1-0 lead all the way through six innings.
Facing 1-0 deficit with just three outs remaining, the Lady Builders made their move in the seventh inning. Alex Ritzema opened the inning with a double to left-center, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Megan Walentynowicz. Ritzema scored Southwestern's first run, and tied the game on Paige Hall's single to left-center. That's when Tabor's pitching fell apart. Five-straight walks helped the Lady Builders plate a pair of runs without even swinging the bat, and gave the Lady Builders a 3-1 lead. An Alejandra Palacios single through the left side added another run, and gave Southwestern a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Tabor was able to get one run back in the seventh, and had the tying run on first base, but a ground out ended the game, and gave Southwestern the 4-2 victory.
Alex Ritzema led Southwetern's offensive efforts with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate, and was the only Lady Builder to record more than one hit in the contest.
Freshman starter Lauren Syrup pitched all the way into the seventh inning. The Anchorage, Alaska, native allowed two earned runs on four hits with seven walks and a career-best 12 strikeouts. She was replaced with one out in the seventh inning, having thrown 138 pitches, by Allison Flinn, who faced three batters but did not allow a run while earning the save.
Game 2 – Tabor 11, Southwestern 6
Southwestern (9-21, 4-8 KCAC) scored four runs in the first inning, and appeared to be in control of the contest. But Tabor answered with five runs in the first, then plated at least one run in each of the next four innings en route to the win.
Peyton Timmerman opened the game with a single down the left field line, then moved to second on Whytleigh Guerrero's bunt-single. Remington Samuels' fielder's choice retired Timmerman at third, but kept a runners on first and second. Alejandra Palacios loaded the bases with a walk, and Alex Ritzma singled to left-center, and scored Guerrero and Samuels in the process. Palacios and Ritzema each scored on a single from Megan Walentynowicz, and the Lady Builders held a 4-0 lead before Tabor (13-26, 5-7 KCAC) even came to the plate.
The Bluejays needed just one at-bat to return the favor. Tabor scored five runs on four hits and two hit-batsmen in the bottom of the first inning alone. The Jays also forced starter Lauren Syrup out of the game in the process. Tabor added single runs in the second and third innings to push its lead to 7-4 after three innings.
Southwestern attempted a comeback in the fourth inning. With two outs in the inning, Timmerman singled through the left side, then moved to second on a Guerrero single through the right side. A Samuels walk loaded the bases for Palacios, who was hit by a pitch to force Timmerman home from third. Ritzema struck again with an RBI single to shallow left, but the Lady Builders left the bases loaded, and left the tying-run on third base.
Tabor added two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, and the Lady Builders had no answer as the Bluejays salvaged the split with an 11-6 win.
Three different Lady Builders recorded multi-hit games in Saturday's finale. Whytleigh Guerrero finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored, while Alex Ritzema went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Peyton Timmerman was 2-for-5 in the game with a run scored.
Allison Flinn pitched most of the second game, and allowed seven runs (five earned) on 12 hits with a walk.
Next Up for the Lady Builders…
Southwestern will look to make up some ground in KCAC standings on Tuesday, hosting the McPherson College Bulldogs. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Broadway Recreation Complex.