DAYTON — The visiting Wright State University Raiders softball team scored early, weathered a storm of strikeouts, then held off a trio of bases loaded situations by the host University of Dayton Flyers to claim a 4-3 win, Tuesday, March 21 at UD Softball Field.
The nonleague win over their Dayton-area rivals snapped the Raiders’ four-game losing streak. Wright State hadn’t played a game in nine days but there were not any signs of rust, especially in the early going.
Lead-off hitter Honnah Susor reached on a first-inning bunt that was mishandled by a UD infielder. She got to second on an infield groundout, then Libby Pfeffer brought Susor home with an RBI double for a 1-0 WSU lead.
Macy Cook got on base in the second inning with a walk. Becka Peterson then pinch-ran for Cook. Peterson stole second base, then she scored on Savanna Brown’s single to center, making it 2-0 Raiders.
Dayton countered with a run in the bottom of the second, but then Wright State scored a pair of runs on back-to-back-to-back hits by Macey Gunther, Pfeffer and Vivi Marquez, for a 4-1 lead. For the game, Pfeffer went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles, two RBI and a run scored.
“In the first three innings, we had an approach we wanted to take. We had our game plan,” WSU coach Justine Wichmann said, as she and the rest of the Raiders team hurriedly gathered their equipment from out of the dugout to get out of the rain. “As the game progressed, we just didn’t stick with our game plan. And so we had to adjust as the game kept going.”
Between the fourth and sixth innings, UD starter Manda Cash and reliever Jessica Weaver combined to strikeout seven straight Raiders, and eight of nine.
The Flyers (12-12) scored again in their half of the third to make it 4-2.
WSU’s defense, combined with reliever Ashley Sharp’s pitching, enabled the Raiders to limit the Dayton damage in the final inning. UD loaded the bases three times, but could only score once on a bases loaded walk.
With two Flyers out and the bases still loaded in the bottom of the seventh, Pfeffer ranged deep to her left from second base to snare a ground ball. She then flipped the ball to Alexis Mayle for the final out.
“This should be a good momentum builder for us when we play them (today) at home and then begin our Horizon League season this weekend,” Wichmann said. “We had nine days of practice, so we had a lot to work with. We stuck with our plan, we’ve been hitting the bullpen harder, and we’ve been sticking with our approach — whether it was offensively or defensively. They did a really good job of adjusting from those nine days that we had off.”
No sooner had Wright State (4-13) recorded the final out than it began to rain.
Speaking of weather, Wednesday’s March 22 UD-Wright State game in Fairborn — originally scheduled for a 6 p.m. start — has been moved to 4 p.m. in hopes of avoiding even more soggy spring weather.