Rio Grande, Ohio – Shawnee State softball's slump reached six games on Tuesday afternoon when the Bears were swept by #19 Rio Grande (Ohio) in a doubleheader, 5-0 in game one and 2-1 in game two.
Shawnee State's offense continued to struggle as the Bears could not muster anything against Rio Grande starter Kelsey Conkey. Conkey threw a complete game shutout, allowing no runs on only two hits and striking out five in seven innings.
Rio Grande would open the scoring in the bottom of the second inning. MacKenzie Nichols single to left field with one out, and would get to second base on a fly out by Cheyenne Hamaker. Kari Jenkins would drive Nichols in with an RBI double to give Rio Grande the lead.
The Red Storm would blow the game open in the bottom of the third with four runs. Michaela Criner would lead off the inning with a double, and would advance to third on Alex Stevens' ground-out to short. After a Carly Skeese pop-out, Tayler Arndt would reach on a walk. Kelsey Conkey would help her own cause by tripling to left-center, scoring both runners. Nichols would follow Conkey with an RBI single, and would score one batter later on Hamaker's RBI double.
Conkey would get the win for her complete game shutout on the mound. Brooke Blevins (FR/Frankfort, Ohio) would allow five runs on eight hits in six innings to take the loss.
Shawnee State would take an early lead in game two by scoring in the top of the first. Katlyn Gleich (SO/Grove City, Ohio) would single to left with one out, and reach third on Kayla Koch (JR/Lucasville, Ohio)'s double. Tara Duncan (SR/Lancaster, Ohio) would then drive in Gleich with an RBI single to right field, but Shawnee State would strand runners on the corners to end the inning.
Rio Grande would make the Bears pay for not scoring more runs by taking the lead in the bottom of the second. Tayler Arndt would lead off with a single, and Kelsey Conkey would lay down a bunt, with both runners reaching on a wild throw by SSU pitcher McKenzie Whittaker (SO/McDermott, Ohio). Cheyenne Hamaker would move both runners over with a bunt two batters later. With two outs, Gabby Gregg and Brittany Walk would hit back-to-back RBI singles to give Rio Grande the lead, which they would not relinquish.
Kacee Jenkins would allow only one run on seven hits in six innings to get the win. McKenzie Whittaker would go the distance for Shawnee State, allowing two runs on seven hits in six innings to take the loss. Kelsey Conkey would throw a scoreless seventh to get a save.
The losses drop Shawnee State's record to 23-22 as the Bears conclude the regular season. Rio Grande improves to 39-7.
Shawnee State softball will get the Mid-South Conference Tournament started on Friday, April 28th when they take on Pikeville at 12:00pm Eastern/11:00am Central. The Bears will then play a second game on Friday, with a win over Pikeville getting them a match-up with Lindsey Wilson at 5:00pm Eastern/4:00pm Central, and a loss dropping them to a 7:30pm Eastern/6:30pm Central start with an as yet to be determined opponent.