Miller Solid; PNW Softball Splits GLIAC Doubleheader With Ashland

Ashland, Ohio – Senior Samme Miller (North Salem, Ind./St. Joseph’s College/Tri-West) went a combined 5-for-6 at the plate and racked up two doubles, a homer, two runs scored and three RBI as the Purdue Northwest softball team split a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader with Ashland University (Ohio) Saturday afternoon at Brookside Park in Ashland, Ohio.  The Pride got off to a hot start winning the first game, 9-4; but the offense could not sustain its momentum in game two dropping the nightcap, 8-1.


Senior Kyleigh Payne (Bourbonnais, Ill./Kankakee CC/Bishop McNamara) got the opener off to a fast start with a home run to left field in the game’s opening at-bat.  Sophomore Taylor Mendenhall (Brownsburg, Ind./St. Joseph’s College/Brownsburg) added a RBI single to right centerfield in the frame to give PNW the early 2-0 lead.  The Eagles took a 3-2 edge in the bottom of the second plating three on a two-run double and a RBI single.


However, junior Zoee Anderson (Lafayette, Ind./St. Joseph’s College/Lafayette Jefferson) crushed a solo homer to left centerfield and Miller hit a RBI double down the left field line in the top of the fifth to put the Pride back in front, 4-3.  AU tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom half of the fifth with a RBI double, but a two-run homer to centerfield by junior Tessa Steffens (Litchfield, Ill./Litchfield) sparked a five-run frame for Purdue Northwest in the top of the sixth to put the Black & Gold up for good.


Junior Taylor Kotzo (Munster, Ind./Munster) had a RBI double to left centerfield and Miller had a solo homer to left field as well in the sixth.  Freshman Samantha Burgard (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) got the victory (4-2) in the circle for the Pride.  She pitched all seven innings and allowed 11 hits, four runs (all earned) and two walks with three strikeouts.


Things looked promising for PNW in game two as Miller hit a RBI double to left centerfield in the top of the first inning to make it, 1-0.  Unfortunately, Ashland answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and proceeded to score six more unanswered runs over the next five innings to pull away for the 8-1 win.  Junior Mia Stevens (Rensselaer, Ind./South Suburban CC/Kankakee Valley) took the loss (7-3) pitching the first three innings and allowing six hits, four runs (all earned) and no walks.


Purdue Northwest (17-12 overall/7-5 GLIAC) continues conference play on Saturday, April 7, with a home doubleheader against Grand Valley State University (Mich.).  The first game of the pair is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start at Dowling Park.