Kotzo Leads Purdue Northwest Softball to Doubleheader Split with Davenport

Hammond, Ind. – Junior Taylor Kotzo (Munster, Ind./Munster) went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate over both games and recorded six RBI in leading the Purdue Northwest softball team to a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader split with Davenport University (Mich.) Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Bank Field in Dowling Park in Hammond, Ind.  The Pride lost the first game, 8-5, but bounced back in the late game to pick up the 12-5 victory.


After two scoreless innings to open Sunday’s first game, the Panthers took advantage of four straight walks with two outs to score the game’s first run in the top of the third inning.  DU was not done in the third hitting a three-run double to the gap in right centerfield to extend its lead to 4-0.  A two-run single in the top of the fourth pushed the Davenport lead to 6-0.  PNW answered back in the bottom of the fourth plating four runs in the frame behind RBI singles by senior Holly Pagan (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) and junior Lauren Maynard (Griffith, Ind./Griffith) and a two-run double to right centerfield by junior Kalyn Learnard (Fairmount, Ill./Catlin).


A sacrifice fly by the Panthers in the top of the sixth and a RBI double to centerfield in the top of the seventh extended the lead to 8-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh.  Sophomore Taylor Mendenhall (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) logged a RBI single to centerfield, but that would complete the scoring for the game.  Freshman Samantha Burgard (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) pitched all seven innings for the Pride, but suffered the loss to move her season record to 4-4.  She allowed nine hits, eight runs (six earned) and seven walks with five strikeouts.


Davenport scored a run in the top of the first inning of game two after stealing home following a wild pitch that allowed the runner to get from second to third base.  A lead-off double by Learnard eventually led to a game-tying sacrifice fly by Kotzo in the bottom of the first.  A pair of RBI singles by senior Kyleigh Payne (Bourbonnais, Ill./Kankakee CC/Bishop McNamara) and Mendenhall in the bottom of the third gave PNW the 3-1 edge.  In the bottom of the fourth, the Pride plated six runs to build a 9-1 advantage with the big hit of the frame coming from Kotzo, a two-run single to left field.


Davenport recorded a pair of RBI singles and a two-run double down the left field line in the top of the fifth to make the score, 9-5.  A fielding error by the Panthers and sacrifice flies by Kotzo and Mendenhall scored three more runs for the Pride to extend the lead to 12-5 in the bottom of the fifth.  Pagan got the win in game two as the starter in the circle moving her season record to 3-2.  She pitched 4.2 innings and gave up five hits, five runs (all earned) and five walks with a strikeout.  Junior Mia Stevens (Wheatfield, Ind./Kankakee Valley) threw the final 2.1 innings and gave up just one hit with a strikeout.


Purdue Northwest (18-15 overall/8-8 GLIAC) heads to Midland, Mich., for a conference doubleheader against Northwood University on Wednesday, April 11.  The first game of the pair is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. CT start at the Fisher Softball Stadium in Midland.