Five Runs To Start Nightcap Lift WPU To Split With Mount Mercy

Cedar Rapids–The Statesmen softball team only scored in three innings Thursday night, but one of those frames was a big one as William Penn split a non-conference doubleheader with Mount Mercy.

The Statesmen (13-18) lost the opener 7-2, but won the second game 6-4.

The Mustangs (11-17) got off to a much better start than the visitors, leading 5-0 entering the sixth inning of the first contest.

Kayla Browning (Jr. Spring Valley, Calif., Biology) and Gabrielle Braniff (Jr., Olympia, Wash., General Accounting) both touched home plate to narrow the deficit to three runs in the top half, but despite matching MMU with nine hits, William Penn could not come any closer.

In a game that featured eight errors (three by WPU), Braniff led the navy and gold with a 3-for-3 effort.  Browning, Tabitha Scott (Fr., Placentia, Calif., Psychology), andChyanne Koko (So., Waianae, Hawaii, Business Management) all finished 2-for-4 as well.  William Penn had its chances, but stranded runners in scoring position five times.

Koko was saddled with the loss as she struck out one batter and walked another in a complete-game performance.  Only five of the runs she allowed were earned.

The Statesmen exorcized some of their first-game demons with an impressive opening frame in the nightcap.  Kodee Johnson (Jr., Stockton, Calif., General Mathematics) and Scott led off with back-to-back doubles and four other players, including Siarra Velasquez (Sr., Carter Lake, Iowa, Biology) with another two-bagger, also managed a base knock in the squad’s five-run effort.

The Mustangs closed to within two runs late at 5-3, but the visiting crew added an insurance run in the seventh when Johnson scored for the second time on one of MMU’s four fielding mistakes.

Johnson was 3-for-4, while Scott managed to go 2-for-2.  Both sides again had nine hits in the latter matchup.

Scott hurled four strong innings for the win, permitting one run (earned) on five hits with a pair of strikeouts.  Elizabeth Whitaker (Jr., Azalea, Ore., Exercise Science) finished it off with a three-inning save that included four strikeouts (one walk).

Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa Saturday to host Baker in a Heart of America Athletic Conference doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.

Story provided by Wade Steinlage


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