HAMMOND, Ind. — The Purdue University Northwest softball team used some big-time hits in Wednesday’s nightcap to aid the Pride in a two-game league split with visiting Indiana South Bend at Dowling Park.
The Pride (21-18-1, 11-7 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference) fell in Game 1, 6-3, but used home runs from Kyleigh Payne (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bishop McNamara) and Olivia Sardella (Dyer, Ind./Lake Central) to propel them to a 5-2 in Game 2 at Fifth Third Bank Field.
The Titans fell to 13-15 overall and 8-10 in the CCAC with the nightcap loss.
Purdue Northwest returns to action Saturday when the Pride travel to Joliet, Ill., for a key twin bill at No. 12 St. Francis (Ill.). Game 1 is set to begin at 1 p.m. CT.
GAME 2: PNW 5, IUSB 2
Kyleigh Payne’s 11th home run of the season broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth and teammate Olivia Sardella followed her with a two-run shot in the sixth to give PNW a pair of insurance runs in the nightcap win.
IUSB struck first in the game, scoring a run in the top of the first inning on a Maddy Hovious sacrifice fly. But the Pride would answer in the second when junior Alex Morales (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) drove an RBI-single to left field to score Tessa Steffens (Litchfield, Ill./Litchfield), who opened the frame with a double.
A Brooke Boss solo home run in the third gave the lead back to IUSB at 2-1, but not before Payne’s RBI single up the middle plated a speedy Haley Loden (Crown Point, Ind./Lake Central) from second base to tie it again at 2-all.
Payne’s fifth-inning home run came with two outs and nobody on, but no matter, as the junior crushed it to center field to give the Pride a lead they would not relinquish. Sardella’s home run was just her second of the year, as the sophomore belted one to left, scoring herself and pinch-hitter Samantha Oppenhuis (Munster, Ind./Illiana Christian), who singled.
Starter Caroline Brown (Minooka, Ill./Minooka) picked up the win in the circle for the Pride for her 10th win of the year, as she allowed just three hits and two earned runs, struck out one and didn’t walk a batter.
Payne was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI and a stolen base; and Sardella was 1-for-3 with two RBI to lead PNW, who totaled nine hits in the game.
GAME 1: IUSB 6, PNW 3
An error-riddled contest proved to be too much to overcome in Wednesday’s opening loss to a hard-hitting IUSB squad.
The Pride committed four errors and the Titans tallied 11 hits in the game, which saw IUSB take an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first frame. PNW would answer with two runs in the bottom of the first on Taylor Kotzo (Munster, Ind./Munster) and Kyleigh Payne RBI hits, but the Titans would add another score in the second to take a 4-2 lead.
PNW plated a run in the third — via an Alex Morales RBI groundout — to cut the lead to just one, but IUSB would respond one more time with two runs in the sixth to create the final score.
PNW tallied just five hits against IUSB starter Nichole Kirkpatrick, led by Payne’s 1-for-2 performance with an RBI and Kotzo’s 1-for-3 outing with an RBI.