Written by Sean Dahlin
MONTGOMERY, W.Va.—Upon a go-ahead RBI-sacrifice fly from sophomore Marva Warndahl, the Southern Virginia University softball team won a thrilling nine-inning 7-5 game one on Friday before dropping the final two contests 9-1 and 11-5 in a tripleheader at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
"It's never easy to play on the road, especially playing three games in one day," said third-year Head Coach Duste Grawrock. "I applaud our team for gelling together and winning the extra-inning opener."
No at-bat was bigger for right fielder Warndahl (Woodland, Wash.) on Friday than her sacrifice fly to left field to score teammate senior Laura Tome (Pasco, Wash.), giving Southern Virginia (5-8) the game-winning run in a 7-5 victory over WVU-Tech (3-4).
"We spend a lot of time in practice working on hitting our players in when they're in scoring position, and Marva did that in a very key spot," said Grawrock.
Senior starting pitcher McKenzy Mackay (Kaysville, Utah), who leads the team with a 4.26 ERA through 46.0 innings-pitched, earned her fourth win of the season in another stellar performance, tossing all nine innings and registering five strikeouts while allowing three earned runs on 10 hits.
"McKenzy is a rock for us. The fact that she pitched so well through all nine innings provided a lot of motivation for the rest of the team," said Grawrock.
In the first inning of the opener, the Golden Bears moved ahead as Jacki Wood and Megan Blythe knocked in a combined three runs on a pair of singles to center field respectively. The Knights, however, evened the score (3-3) with Warndahl and twin sisters Chance Hegsted (Rupert, Idaho) and Cheyenne Hegsted (Rupert, Idaho) crossing home plate in the top of the third.
Tome then gave Southern Virginia its first lead of the contest in the top of the fifth inning on a two-RBI single to center field before WVU-Tech cut into the deficit in the bottom half with its own run as Kat Lively scored on a double to left field by Wood.
Neither team could get anything going offensively until Wood for the Golden Bears struck again with a two-out RBI-double to center field to knot the score at 7-7, moving the game to extra innings before the Knights put up two in the top of the ninth on route to the win.
Cha. Hegsted, who recorded five hits on the day, was 2-for-5 with two runs and two stolen bases.
WVU-Tech's starter Wood (1-2) threw a complete-game recording 10 strikeouts while allowing seven runs, one earned) on six hits in the loss.
Game two saw Southern Virginia jump ahead 1-0 in the top of the first as senior first baseman Malia Falevai (Mesa, Ariz.) doubled to center in her only hit of the competition to bring in Warndahl.
The Golden Bears answered with a combined six runs through two complete highlighted by a Katie Campbell three-run home run to straightaway center field. The home team then closed the door in the bottom of the fifth with three more runs to give WVU-Tech the 9-1 victory.
Bridgett Goss (1-2) earned the win allowing one run on two hits through five complete while Knights sophomore Annie Biggs (Gilbert, Ariz.) took the loss for a 1-5 record on the season.
In game three, the Golden Bears scored the initial five runs in the first and third innings on a pair of doubles and singles respectively, highlighted by a Stephanie Nickell two-RBI double to left in the bottom of the third.
Falevai led a Southern Virginia three-run rally in the top half of the fourth, hitting her first home run as a Knight with a centerfield blast over the fence also knocking in teammate Che. Hegsted. Senior shortstop Dinah Rogers (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added the final score in the inning as Mackay knocked her in on a single to right.
WVU-Tech outscored Southern Virginia 6-2 in the remaining three innings, including a left-field grand slam by Ali Holmes in the fifth. The Knights' Che. Hegsted and Mackay crossed home plate on a double to center field by Sarah Edwards (Phoenix, Ariz.) and a Cha. Hegsted right-field single in the fifth and sixth innings respectively.
In addition to Cha. Hegsted going 3-for-4, Edwards, Sara Harmon (Buena Vista, Va.), Che. Hegsted and Mackay each registered two hits in the final competition of the day.
Golden Bears pitcher Woods (2-2) got the win through 3.2 innings of relief allowing two runs on seven hits. Mackay (4-3) was given the loss giving up 11 runs on 12 hits.
Softball's next doubleheader will be in front of its home crowd at The Fields against the University of Virginia's College at Wise on Wednesday, Mar. 13.
Watch live video as the Knights take on the Cavaliers.