Dayton softball hits winning streak, faces SLU Wednesday

By: Meaghan Mcnichol – Staff Writer

 The Dayton softball team is currently on a three-game winning streak, with an overall record of 13-13-1. The Flyers are 2-1-1 in Atlantic 10 conference play.

The team kicked off last week with a doubleheader against Morehead State on Tuesday, and successfully swept the Eagles.

The Flyers topped Morehead State by one run in the first game with a final score of 4-3.

MSU quickly broke open the scoring in the top of the first inning, scoring a run off Dayton starting pitcher Gabby Snyder, and Dayton responded. Sophomore third baseman Kailee Budicin got the Flyers on the board, scoring from first on a single by freshman designated hitter Lisa Tassi.

The third inning was eventful as well, with three total runs scored. MSU took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third but lost that lead when the Flyers scored two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Tassi singled freshman outfielder Aspyn Novak home, while freshman outfielder Madi Maloof grounded out to second with senior catcher Kathryn Hess on third base, allowing Hess to score and giving Dayton a 3-2 advantage.

MSU retaliated with a solo home run to tie the game in the fourth inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, sophomore Kayla Haberstich hit a groundout and gave senior Krista Gustafson the opportunity to score from third. Gustafson was safe at home, scoring what ended up being the winning run.

This was a big game for senior Emily Froment, who pitched her first win of the season with three scoreless innings of relief, allowing just two hits and striking out three.

“One of the highlights was having Emily Froment back in the circle,” Dayton head coach Cara LaPlaca said. “She’s been hampered with some injuries and to see her at 100 percent and be able to come in and shut down their offense is a good sign for us as we head into a more rigorous conference season.”

The second game was less eventful with a final score of 1-0 in Dayton’s favor. UD scored in the bottom of the seventh with a hit from freshman infielder Kayla Laquiere that drove home the runner, senior outfielder Kirsten Bartlett.

Dayton’s freshman starting pitcher Jessica Gilliam had a great deal of success in the circle during game two. She tossed a complete game, only allowing three hits. Gilliam had a career-best seven strikeouts.

“Jess is really mature in the circle and brings a lot of poise,” LaPlaca said.

A freshman pitcher-catcher battery, Gillam and catcher Kyle Davidson led the team defensively during the second game.

“Jess and Kyle are a good battery combo for us,” LaPlaca said. “They work well together and the rest of the team feeds off of that.”

The Flyers finished their week on the road in Kingston, Rhode Island, with a big 12-5 win Friday afternoon against conference foe Rhode Island. Two scheduled games on Saturday were canceled due to weather.

UD was quick to get on the board with a two-run home run from Tassi in the top of the first, giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead.

Rhode Island tied the game in the bottom of the second but the Flyers had an eventful third inning with a total of 4 runs, giving them a 6-2 lead.

Snyder kicked off the inning with a run as a result of a URI error off the bat of Hess. Hess scored a run off of a single by Gustafson shortly after. Junior outfielder Hannah DeSalvo contributed with her first home run of the season to put the Flyers ahead with a 6-2 lead.

The success continued in the fourth inning with a single from Gustafson that drove two home. Later in the inning another URI error brought home Budicin, increasing the Flyers’ lead to 9-2.

The Rams added a solo home run in the fifth inning.

UD’s achievement continued in the seventh inning with three runs. URI’s fourth error of the game brought home another run for the Flyers. Senior infielder Kennedy Haynes’s walk on a wild pitch brought home DeSalvo, giving the Flyers an eight run lead. Freshman catcher Kelly Fitzgerald scored the last run for UD on a sacrifice fly by Hess.

URI scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh but the Flyers still clinched the win with a final score of 12-5.

Gustafson was a key player in this game with a walk, three RBI and two runs scored.

Sophomore starting pitcher Manda Cash played a pivotal role in this game as well. She allowed three earned runs on three hits while striking out 10 Rams total.

“These wins are big. We’ve had a lot of extra inning games and a lot of really close games so it’s since to come out on top and walk away with a sweep,” LaPlaca said after the Morehead State sweep.

The Flyers hope to continue their success as their conference play continues at home against St. Louis University on Wednesday with a double header.

Follow @FlyerNewsSports on Twitter for updates on Flyers softball and all other UD sports.

Photo: Sophomore shortstop Kayla Haberstich, pictured above sliding into second base during Dayton’s 5-0 win over Akron on March 20 at UD Softball Stadium, produced the winning RBI in the Flyers’ 4-3 win over Morehead State on March 29. The Flyers swept Morehead State in a doubleheader before traveling to Rhode Island on Friday to take on A-10 conference foe URI, who the Flyers defeated 12-5. Chris Santucci/Multimedia Editor