ROSEMONT,Ill. – The Purdue University Northwest softball team opened up the 2019 season with a pair of wins as they took down Missouri S&T 4-0, then capped off the night with a 2-0 shutout of Illinois-Springfield. It is the first doubleheader shutout with two different opponents for PNW in program history.
Freshman Ashley Bravo got the Pride going in the second inning with an RBI single scoring Tessa Steffens. Jesse Beadle kept it going with an RBI single later in the inning that brought Bravo home.
Later in the fifth inning, senior Zoee Anderson scored on a Miner throwing error along with 2B Heather O’Kelly to push the PNW lead to 4-0.
Bravo, O’Kelly, and Steffens all added steals as well as the Pride were clicking offensively. Bravo was the lone member of the team to register multiple hits, as she put together quite the collegiate debut.
Senior pitcher Mia Stevens, meanwhile, made sure everyone understood why she was called on to start the season opener. Stevens went the complete seven innings as she allowed just one hit and struck out one, while hurling the first shutout of 2019 for the program. It was the first seven-inning shutout of Stevens' collegiate career.
The second game of the day brought the Pride up against the UIS Prairie Stars. The game was tight throughout the early stages, as neither team was able to put any runs on the board for most of the game. Later in the inning, Kalyn Learnard knocked a three-bagger into the field scoring Anderson. Anderson provided some insurance in the top of the seventh as she hit another triple and scored on an error from the center fielder to make it 2-0.
Courtney Blackwell took the mound for the second game of the day, and she picked up right where Mia Stevens had left off. Blackwell went a complete seven innings once again, allowing just five hits and striking out two while twirling a second consecutive shutout for PNW.
The Pride could have had even more run support, but they unfortunately left seven runners on base in the night cap.
Nonetheless, head coach Niki Stansell couldn’t have asked for a much better start to 2019, as Friday was the first day with two shutouts for the softball program since April 28, 2017, when they swept the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears.
They’ll be back at it Saturday, as they continue the Lewis Dome Invitational with a pair of games: 1:30 p.m. will see PNW match up with William Jewell, followed by a 6:00 p.m. start time against Lindenwood University. No streaming video will be available, but live stats and updates can be found on both the PNW Athletics (@pnwathletics) and PNW Softball (PNWSoftball) Twitter accounts.