Lady Cardinals on the right track after slow start to season

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After having high expectations heading into the 2018 season, the SVSU softball team began the year with a rough stretch of games, starting the season 7-9 prior to this past weekend.

The Lady Cards hoped to pick up the pace against Ohio Valley on Saturday, March 17, and Ohio Dominican on Sunday, March 18.

The Lady Cardinals on Saturday took two games over the Fighting Scots, snapping a five-game losing streak. Sunday’s doubleheader against Ohio Dominican concluded after The Valley Vanguard’s time of publication.

Saturday’s first game started out with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning by SVSU, giving them an early 2-0 lead on the Fighting Scots. OVU cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single of their own to make the score 2-1.

SVSU notched two more runs in the top of the second inning, extending its lead to three runs on OVU. The Fighting Scots showed no quit in the bottom of the second, as they knocked in two runs of their own.

The fifth inning picked the scoring back up, as an RBI single from the Cardinals extended their lead to two in the top of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, OVU came fighting back, driving in one run of their own.

In the sixth inning, the Cardinals drove in another run with an RBI double, giving SVSU a 6-4 lead going into the seventh inning.

In the top of the final inning, the Cardinals pulled away from the Fighting Scots with a two-run homer to push the lead to four, giving the Cardinals the 1-0 lead in the weekend series.

Sophomore pitcher Mikayla Alexandrou (2-3) notched her second win of the season on the mound.

“(Saturday), we really hit the ball well,” head coach Todd Buckingham said. “We have been struggling with confidence at the plate, and (Saturday) we were able to relax more and bat with confidence.”

To kick off the second game of the set, the Cardinals took the lead in the top of the first with an RBI single to drive in the game’s first run. The Fighting Scots quickly responded in the bottom of the inning, notching two runs of their own to end the inning, giving them a 2-1 lead over the Cardinals.

The second inning only saw one run earned in the top of the second inning by Saginaw Valley, tying up the game at two.

The third inning saw a lot of scoring, as both teams were trading blows with each other. Saginaw Valley knocked in three runs, extending their lead 5-2. OVU answered back with three runs of its own, evening up the score 5-5.

The Cards notched another run in the top of the fourth inning, making the score 6-5.

In the top of the seventh inning, SVSU hit a trio of home runs, bringing in five runners and extending its lead to six. That was the deciding factor in the game, as the Fighting Scots were held scoreless in the bottom of the seventh to give the Lady Cards the 2-0 series lead over OVU as they took the victory, 11-5.

Senior Anna Conrad (5-2) recorded her fifth win on the mound this season.

Senior catcher Courtney Reeves and senior first basemen Evy Lobdell had something to say on what the mindset of the team was going into these next few games and what the team has to improve on to continue to win.

“We have to focus on playing tight defense, have clear and focused minds on the field and timely hitting,” Lobdell said.

Reeves also discussed how the team can use the momentum of these victories moving forward.

“To keep on this winning streak,” Reeves said, “we need everyone to stay strong as a team and start our upcoming games the way we finished the last one.”

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