The McKendree University softball team split a Great Lakes Valley Conference twinbill Saturday afternoon at William Jewell, dropping the first game 5-1 before rolling to a 9-0 shutout win in the nightcap.
Thanks to its game two victory, McKendree was able to lock down its first-ever berth in the GLVC Tournament, which begins April 29 and runs through May 1 in East Peoria. McKendree is 25-25 overall and 16-12 in conference play.
The Bearcats will wrap up the regular season Sunday in a doubleheader at Rockhurst University. First pitch is set for noon in Kansas City, Mo.
In the opener, Maci Ingram, a Nashville graduate, was nicked for the loss in the circle for McKendree. She allowed five earned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts. Ingram is now 8-9 on the year
It was different in game two. Dani Schoenbacher, a Pinckeyville graduate, stated the Bearcats off with a two-run homer in the second. Liz Klussman followed with a solo home run in the third to increase the lead to 3-0. Branch singled an advanced to second on an error setting her up for an unearned run as Brooke Gajewski blasted a two-run shot to push the McKendree lead to five runs after three innings of play.
Klussman, Branch and Gajewski each added run-scoring hits in the fourth, while Tylin Stephens also produced a steal of home plate to round out the Bearcats' scoring in the fourth and secure their GLVC Tournament slot. Holly Magre picked up her 14th win of the season. Magre limited the Cardinals to two hits with no errors and four strikeouts.
SIUE 8-4, Tennessee State 4-1
Baylee Douglass picked up the win in both games of the doubleheader Saturday as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville swept past Tennessee State at Tiger Field in Nashville, Tenn.
The Cougars, who head to Belmont for a 1 p.m. doubleheader Sunday, improved their overall record to 19-20 and 11-7 in the OVC. Tennessee State dropped to 10-37 overall and 3-16 in the OVC.
Douglass improved her season record to 13-8 overall with a two-hit shutout in game one. The sophomore right-hander threw the final two 1/3 innings of game two in relief of Ashley Koziol.
Alyssa Heren hit her team-leading fourth triple of the season in the first game. Heren became the first SIUE player in the Division I era to record four or more triples in a single season. The last player to do it was Courtney Mall in SIUE’s national championship season of 2007.