Kentucky State University softball split a road doubleheader with Salem International University on Thursday afternoon at Hope Field.
The Thorobrettes (15-19) dropped the first game 11-6 but bounced back in the second game for a 4-3 victory, securing a 15-win season.
The doubleheader with SIU marks the end of the regular season for KSU and will now look towards the SIAC tournament next week in Augusta, Georgia. The bracket as well game times and dates have not been released by the SIAC office.
Game 1: SIU 11 KSU 6
The KSU offense produced two runs in the first inning grabbing a 2-0 advantage. Sophomore shortstop Jittuan Thompson knocked in junior left fielder Alysha Sakamura on an error, and two batters later, senior catcher Kaitlin Oshiro drove in Thompson with a RBI single back up the middle.
Freshman pitcher Chante Thome started the contest for the Thorobreds and experienced a rough first inning as the Tigers plated seven first inning runs as KSU committed three errors behind Thome.
Sakamura added another run in the second inning driving in senior center fielder Tyneshia Wilson with a RBI infield single to the left side, bringing the Thorobrettes to a 7-3 deficit.
The Tigers ran Thome from the game after the third inning with three more runs, concluding her day. Over her three innings of work, Thome gave up 10 runs, five earned, and did not strike out a batter.
Fellow freshman Kiaja Aikman followed Thome providing the Thorobrettes with three innings of work while giving up one unearned run. Oshiro and Thompson kept providing sparks for the KSU lineup as Oshiro provided a two-run single to center in the fourth, and Thompson slugged her team-leading fourth home run of the season for a solo shot in the sixth.
Oshiro wrapped up her first game going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Thompson went 1-for-3, scoring three runs in the process. Sakamura led all Thorobettes at the plate, as she went 3-for-4 in the 11-6 loss.
Game 2: KSU 4 SIU 3
The Thorobrettes fed off the pitching performance of Aikman (5-5) as she started the second game of the day, pitching a complete game, her seventh of the season. Aikman gave up three runs over her body work, striking out three while walking two batters.
SIU started off strong against Aikman, putting the Thorobrettes in an early hole at 3-0 after the first two innings, but once Aikman settled down the offense came alive.
Wilson started the third inning with a walk and advanced to third with no outs after stealing second and third base with Sakamura at the plate. Sakamure then got Wilson home with a bunt single back to the mound. Thompson followed up two batters later singling in Sakamura with a screamer to right field, cutting the Tigers’ lead to just 3-2.
The score remained the same until the top of the seventh. Wilson tried to work her magic again on the base paths, stealing second after reaching off a bunt single. After Sakamura had reached base due to a walk, Wilson was called out at home, trying to catch the Tigers sleeping. Sakamura later score off a bunt single by junior Brittney Gately, bringing the game to a 3-3 tie. KSU took the lead after Thompson doubled down the left field, moving Gately to third, and was driven in off a groundout by senior third baseman Katelyn Drake for a 4-3 lead.
Despite an error by the Thorobrettes’ defense in the bottom of the seventh, Aikman secured the win only allowing the one base runner in the inning for a final of 4-3.
Thompson led the lineup from the plate, going 3-for-4 with a RBI. Gately also plated a multi-hit game going 2-for-3 with a RBI.
by Eric Mathews