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The Buchtelite

Zips softball opens Mid-American Conference play

By Terry Rabbitts

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The University of Akron women’s softball team opened up the 2016 Mid-American Conference play this past weekend with a three-game series against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Lee Jackson Field.

It started out on a positive note for the Zips with a 4-3 victory, but the Eagles’ subsequent sweep of a doubleheader on Saturday put a damper on the weekend.

On Friday, Cassie Gillespie was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3, scoring two runs, and driving in two more as Akron battled back from an early two-point deficit to record the win.

Alyssa Nichols and Taylor Kirian each contributed two hits to help the offense.

With Akron (15-15, 1-2 MAC) trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, Gillespie was able to connect on her first career home run to knot the score. Later in the inning, Kirian drove in the run that put the Zips on top for good with a single to right field.

Gillespie drove in another run in the sixth with a two-out base hit to score Kayla Schlosser and give Akron a 4-2 advantage.

Erin Seiler pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits and three runs. Seiler also struck out four Eagles while walking three.

In game one on Saturday, Akron found themselves down early again as the Eagles scored three runs in the first inning.

Akron answered EMU’s first inning by having a big second inning. Savannah Fruin came to the plate after the Zips loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks. Fruin eliminated the deficit with one swing of the bat, sending a pitch deep over the wall in left field for a grand slam. For Fruin, it was her fifth round-tripper of the year and 14th of her Akron career.

Unfortunately for the Zips, they could only gather five hits and one run the rest of the game and fell to the Eagles, 11-5. EMU scored in each of the final four innings to regain the lead and put the game out of reach.

In the second game, EMU continued in the first inning by plating one run.

The Zips tied the game up at one in the bottom of the third inning when Kelly Hysong singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error and then scored on a two-out hit by Nichols.

The game stayed deadlocked until the sixth inning, when EMU was able to push across a couple of runs to take a 3-1 advantage.

Akron was able to threaten in the sixth and seventh innings by putting runners on base, but could not get the hit to push them across.

Seiler pitched well in the last game of the series. She allowed just five hits, struck out three, and didn’t allow a walk – but could not get the victory.

Akron heads north to Cleveland on Wednesday for a pair of games with the Vikings of Cleveland State. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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