Carly Szada had two hits and drove in two runs during the season opener, Claire Petrus pitched a four-hit shutout in the nightcap and the nationally ranked UW-Oshkosh softball team won a pair of games in resounding fashion on Saturday (Feb. 24) in Marquette, Mich.
UW-Oshkosh (2-0), ranked 23rd in the NCAA Division III by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, drubbed Concordia University Wisconsin, 12-1, before defeating The College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) by an 8-0 score. Both contests were halted in the fifth inning due to the eight-run rule.
Ten of UW-Oshkosh's 21 hits on the day went for extra bases as the Titans batted .477 in the two games with a .778 slugging percentage against teams that combined for a 55-29 record a year ago. The College of St. Scholastica joined UW-Oshkosh in the national tournament last season while Concordia University Wisconsin went 31-12.
UW-Oshkosh did not commit an error Saturday while Concordia University Wisconsin had four miscues that led to six unearned runs, and The College of St. Scholastica was charged with three errors and two unearned runs.
Natalie Dudek went 4-for-5 with four runs in the two games for the Titans. Szada totaled three hits, four runs and three RBIs.
Against Concordia University Wisconsin, the Titans avenged last season's loss to the Falcons in Marquette by scoring all 12 of their runs over the first three innings.
UW-Oshkosh outhit Concordia University Wisconsin, 12-6, on the way to atoning for a 3-2 setback to the Falcons on Feb. 25, 2017.
After scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning, the Titans erupted for four runs in the second frame and seven in the third.
The first four Titans reached base in the second inning as Erika Berry started the four-run outburst by reaching via an error. Dudek followed with a ground-rule double, Szada doubled and Amanda McIlhany singled to increase the UW-Oshkosh lead to 3-0. Brianna Witter had an RBI groundout before Emma Fionda singled to score McIlhany with the Titans' fifth run of the game.
UW-Oshkosh sent 12 batters to the plate during the third inning that featured five hits and four Falcon errors. Dudek, Katie Fontanetta, Menting and Witter each collected RBIs in the frame.
Concordia University Wisconsin (0-1) scored its lone run on a sacrifice fly from Janelle Wotruba in the top of the fourth inning.
UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Bailey Smaney went the distance, allowing one run on six hits. She walked two and struck out four.
Dudek, Fionda and Szada led UW-Oshkosh with two hits each.
Falcons starting pitcher Molly O'Connell suffered the loss, ceding 10 runs (six earned) on nine hits and one walk in 2.1 innings.
O'Connell and Jaime Reiser had two hits apiece for Concordia University Wisconsin.
In the victory over The College of St. Scholastica (0-2), the Titans gave Petrus all the run support she needed on Acacia Tupa's inside-the-park solo home run with one out in the home half of the first inning.
UW-Oshkosh added two runs in both the second and fourth frames before walking off with the win with a three-run fifth inning.
Petrus gave up three singles and one double en route to picking up her second career shutout. She also had a two-run double that concluded the game with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Petrus, who struck out three without issuing a walk, faced just 17 batters – two over the minimum – as the Titans turned double plays in the first and third innings. All but two of the Petrus' 15 outs were recorded on the infield.
McIlhany laced a two-run triple to increase the UW-Oshkosh lead to 3-0 in the second inning. Tupa drove in a run in the fourth frame with a bases-loaded groundball, and Rachel Ashauer also came around to score on the play following an error by the Saints shortstop.
Addison Brickson drew a walk to lead off the Titans' decisive three-run fifth inning. Dudek followed with a single, Szada plated Brickson with a ground-rule double and Petrus capped the victory with a two-run ground-rule double that allowed Dudek and Szada to score the winning runs.
Dudek and McIlhany both recorded two of the Titans' nine hits.
The College of St. Scholastica starting pitcher Maggie Schley suffered the complete-game loss, yielding eight runs (six earned) in four-plus innings.
UW-Oshkosh plays Lakeland and Marian universities on Sunday (Feb. 25) to conclude its trip to Marquette.