HAMMOND, Ind. – The Purdue Northwest softball team came away with a pair of wins Saturday as they defeated the Ferris State Bulldogs 7-1 in the first game of the day, and followed it up with an 8-1 victory to complete the doubleheader sweep.
After the Bulldogs jumped ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning, PNW got some revenge with four runs in the bottom half. Heather O’Kelly led off with a double that was followed up by a Zoee Anderson triple that evened the score. Kalyn Learnard came up next and brought Anderson across with an RBI single. Freshman Madi Schultz continued her impressive campaign as she hit a towering home run to center field that bounced off the glove of the FSU center fielder and landed over the fence. The Pride finished with a commanding 4-1 lead after one.
The pitchers dueled until the fifth when Taylor Kotzo brought home Tessa Steffens and Madi Schultz with a three-run home run that pushed the lead out to 7-1.
Sophomore pitcher Courtney Blackwell made sure the Pride got the win as she twirled a complete game allowing just four hits and the one earned run while striking out two. It was Blackwell’s tenth win of the season as her overall record now stands at 10-4 with a 2.55 ERA.
From the jump the Pride continued to pounce on the Bulldog pitching staff. Zoee Anderson got things started with a single and then an error from the pitcher that allowed junior Heather O’Kelly to come across. Kalyn Learnard was next up and continued the fun with an RBI double that allowed Anderson to double the PNW lead to 2-0. After a pair of outs, Tessa Steffens singled and was brought in with a 2-out bomb of a home run to center field from Shailen Johnson that pushed the lead out to 5-0.
Taylor Mendenhall got another one on the board for the Black and Gold in the second inning as she hit a fly ball to center field deep enough to get Anderson across on the sacrifice.
Johnson blasted another home run to center field in the third for her second of the game as the margin for the Pride swelled to 7-0. It was Johnson’s first multi-home run game in her career at PNW.
Lexi Hongisto got the only run of the game in for FSU on a single that rolled into center field that made the game 7-1 in the top of the fifth. The Pride had gotten the first two batters of the inning out before a pair of walks extended the inning.
Mia Stevens gave herself some run support in the bottom half of the fifth as she knocked a base hit into center that brought Taylor Kotzo home as the Pride win by a final of 8-1. Stevens finished with a complete game as she allowed just one run and seven hits for her sixth win of the season.
Next up for the Pride they will travel to Grand Rapids for a weekday doubleheader against the Davenport Panthers. First pitch of game one will be Tuesday, April 16 at 2:30 p.m. CDT from the Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex in Caledonia.