By JACK VANASSCHE, Sports Editor
The University of Michigan-Dearborn softball team kicked off conference play on Friday in Adrian, Mich., where the Wolverines left Siena Heights University with a loss and a tie.
In game one against Siena Heights, the Saints (13-4-1, 1-0-1 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) rushed out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning to start the game.
Both offenses remained quiet until the Saints returned in the fourth inning when they scored four runs in the frame.
Siena Heights tacked on one more run in the fifth inning to take a 7-0 lead.
But as they had done so many times in Clermont, Fla., during their spring games, the Wolverines (11-5-1, 0-1-1 WHAC) stormed back.
Down by seven in the sixth inning, sophomore Rachel Dolland drove in a pair of runs for the Wolverines with a single. Later in the inning, sophomore Kassidy Butler brought the Wolverines within two with a three-run home run.
Siena Heights scored what turned out to be an important insurance run in the bottom of the inning to go up by three.
In the Wolverines’ last at-bats, junior Jordan Ewald doubled home a pair of runs to pull within one run with a runner in scoring position.
However, Saints starter Lesley Ducat finished off the Wolverines to cap off the complete game victory. Ducat went all seven innings on the hill and recorded three strikeouts.
Kris Forest had a big night for the Saints, driving in five runs in a 3-for-3 night.
Game two followed immediately after, and the Wolverines came out hungry to avenge their first conference loss of the season.
In the first inning of the second game, the Wolverines jumped ahead to a 2-0 lead after Taylor Moceri scored on a wild pitch. Then, after a walk and a fielder’s choice, Leah Oldham walked with the bases loaded to bring in the second run of the game.
Forest continued being a thorn in the side of the Wolverines by driving in a run in the Saints’ half of the first to cut the UM-Dearborn lead in half.
In the bottom of the second inning, Lindsay Brandon singled home Lexi Agers to tie the ballgame at 2-2.
Butler answered with another clutch hit for the maize and blue in the top of the fourth inning, driving home both Moceri and Riley Hison. The Wolverines were back on top, 4-2.
Siena Heights did not flinch. Bailee Taylor singled home Skylar Crenshaw in the bottom half of the fourth to pull within a run of the Wolverines.
Crenshaw then singled home fellow Saint Hannah Bleikamp in the bottom of the fifth to knot the game up at 4-4.
The game remained tied until extra innings, when, in the bottom of the eighth inning, the game was called due to darkness.
The Wolverines will head home for the first time this season this week against Madonna University at 3:30 p.m. at Buysse Field at the University of Detroit-Mercy in Detroit. Sunday, the Wolverines will wrap up the week with a doubleheader at Lawrence Tech.