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The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Softball walks off with grand slam win over Army

Senior first baseman Jenn Reading stretches for the out in Drexel's doubleheader loss against Hofstra University April 7 at Drexel Softball Field. Reading leads the Dragons with 14 RBI in 36 games this season.

Senior first baseman Jenn Reading stretches for the out in Drexel’s doubleheader loss against Hofstra University April 7 at Drexel Softball Field. Reading leads the Dragons with 14 RBI in 36 games this season.

After a miserable start to the week, the Drexel softball team salvaged a victory in the final inning of the week’s last game. Overall the team went 1-4 for the week, including a perfect game that was thrown against them.

The Dragons were shut out by Hofstra University 11-0 in the series opener April 6. The game, which took place in the cool morning air, was closely played for the first few innings.

Tara Konopka got the start for Drexel, and after surrendering two first-inning runs, she settled into a groove and posted zeros the next two innings. The fourth inning did her and Drexel in, though, as she imploded to yield nine earned runs.

The game would be called after five innings due to the mercy rule. The Drexel lineup only managed one hit, a second-inning single by Maddison Timoteo.

In Sunday’s doubleheader, the offense would not do much better. The Dragons were shut out in both games en route to being swept by the Pride.

In Game 1, Olivia Galati hurled a six-inning perfect game against the Dragons, striking out 13 of the 18 Dragons she faced. Her performance on the mound was more than enough for the Pride, who supported her with 13 runs. Galati actually scored more runs herself than the amount of baserunners she allowed in the entire game.

Shelby Taylor got pounded on the mound to the tune of nine runs for Drexel. Big innings for Hofstra in the fourth and sixth innings, during which they scored 11 combined runs, did more than enough damage to bury Drexel.

Galati came pretty close to following up and matching her performance in Game 2, which Hofstra won 5-0. She allowed an infield single in the first before retiring 19 consecutive batters to end the game with a one-hit shutout. For the day, she tossed 13 shutout innings, allowing only the one hit and striking out 23 Dragons.

Konopka took the loss for the second straight day. The freshman allowed all five runs in her complete-game performance, falling to 6-11 on the season.

The shutout capped a scoreless weekend for the Drexel bats. Head coach Miranda Ervin simply said they were outplayed.

“They outperformed us,” she said. “We established our level of play, which was awesome to be a part of.”

The Dragons split their doubleheader against the United States Military Academy April 10 to finally get back in the win column, but not before a Game 1 loss. Konopka took another loss, yielding five runs over seven innings in a 5-1 defeat. The Dragons did get on the scoreboard, snapping their 23-inning scoreless streak.

In Game 2, Drexel snapped a seven game losing streak in dramatic fashion. Trailing by one heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Dragons rallied for five runs, capped by Taylor’s walk-off grand slam to capture the 7-3 victory. Each Dragon to come to the plate in the seventh inning reached base.

Taylor’s grand slam helped her own cause, as she won her fourth game of the season after hurling seven innings on the mound. She allowed only two earned runs and rebounded nicely from her two previous rough outings, helping Drexel improve its record to 11-25.

“She is definitely on track,” Ervin said. “I look forward to her performances this weekend.”

Taylor will get the ball when Drexel faces off against Towson University, starting with a doubleheader April 13 and ending with a third game April 14. The Dragons will look to snap their 10-game conference losing streak. They have lost 14 of their last 15 games against Colonial Athletic Association foes.

Because of the competitiveness and talented teams scattered throughout the conference, Ervin knows the team needs to play as sharp as it can and not give away outs, runs or games. She has made a point to focus on making the plays and doing the right fundamentals.

“I think we need to continue to focus on fundamentals,” she explained. “Our conference opponents are great competition and continue to push us to be better.”

The Tigers sit in fifth place in the CAA standings with a record of 19-23-1. They are one of the teams Drexel would need to leap past in the standings as they look to get on a run and climb out of the conference’s cellar. Ervin anticipates a tough battle over the weekend and expects to see fight from her team.

“I think we need to be performing at a high level to win,” she said. “I look for us to be a feisty team to do anything to win.”