The beauty of a doubleheader is that it keeps things interesting. Just because offense runs the show one game doesn’t mean the defense and pitching staff can’t take over the next. Likewise, a day game featuring elite pitching can give way to smoldering bats and base runners when night falls. It’s unpredictable which side of the ball — if either — dominates a given game, and it’s what makes these events so much fun to watch.
The softball doubleheader on Tuesday, March 22 — which pitted the Yellowjackets against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers — was an extreme example of doubleheader unpredictability, as bats and base runners abounded throughout the day game, only to be followed by a pitching duel for the history books come nightfall.
The first match up between the crosstown squads was overrun with explosive offensive contributions on the part of both squads. RIT put up a fight, but the blue and yellow bats refused to back down and emerged victorious, 10-5.
Freshman Nina Korn continued what has been nothing short of an outstanding start to the season, doubling twice to drive in four runs. Korn is batting a team-leading .478 with three home runs and 22 RBIs through just 14 games this season.
Though vital to the team’s offensive rally, Korn wasn’t alone in the effort. Junior Samantha Melvin provided fifth-inning firepower with a two-run homer. Melvin had three RBIs in the game.
Junior Sara Hutchinson did the bulk of the work on the mound for the Yellowjackets, giving up five runs on 10 hits to win the day game for the ‘Jackets. Hutchinson tallied her team-leading fifth win of the season, improving to 5-4. She heads the team in innings pitched and strikeouts.
A fan who arrived too late to watch the first game, but in time for the second would have hardly recognized the teams who took the field for the night game on Tuesday. Inning after inning, UR starting pitcher sophomore Maddie Skellie and RIT’s Brittany Kemp posted strikeout after strikeout, shutout inning after shutout inning.
As the zeros began to pile up in the runs column late in the game, fans started to realize one difference between Skellie’s and Kemp’s performance: Kemp hadn’t given up a hit.
And then, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kemp met Korn, and the tide of the game turned for good. Korn doubled to break up Kemp’s bid at perfection. Clearly shaken, Kemp proceeded to surrender a second double to the next hitter, junior M.C. Wagner. Korn came around to score on Wagner’s hit, and that was all she wrote. The Yellowjackets squeezed out a 1-0 win to sweep the day.
Neither pitcher could be disappointed with their line. Despite the small falter, Kemp finished the day with nine strikeouts and two walks. She allowed just three base runners until Korn’s seventh-inning double.
Skellie, for her part, pitched a three-hitter while walking one and striking out an impressive 10 batters. She escaped numerous jams to shut out the Tigers.
The Yellowjackets (9-5) visit Ithaca College on Sunday, March 27.
Bernstein is a member of
the class of 2014.