Pagan, Pitchers Shine; PNW Softball Sweeps Ashland in Doubleheader

HAMMOND, Ind. – Senior Holly Pagan (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) drove in a combined four RBI and freshmen pitchers Courtney Blackwell (Whiting, Ind./Whiting) and Samantha Burgard (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) had impressive starts to lead the Purdue Northwest softball team to a doubleheader sweep of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) foe Ashland University (Ohio) Thursday afternoon at Fifth Third Bank Field in Dowling Park in Hammond, Ind.  The Pride took the first game, 3-1, and then captured the 5-1 victory in the late contest.


In the opener, the Eagles struck first scoring a run in the top of the first inning on a RBI groundout.  PNW tied the game in the bottom of the second on a RBI single to second base by junior Tessa Steffens (Litchfield, Ill./Litchfield).  A sacrifice fly by Pagan in the bottom of the sixth put the Pride ahead, 2-1, and a RBI double to left centerfield by junior Olivia Sardella (Dyer, Ind./Lake Central) later in the frame put the exclamation point on the win.  Blackwell threw all seven innings to claim the victory (5-6) and allowed just five hits, one run (unearned) and two walks with three strikeouts.


After three scoreless innings to open game two, senior Kyleigh Payne (Bourbonnais, Ill./Kankakee CC/Bishop McNamara) sparked a five-run frame for the Pride in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to centerfield.  Pagan had a bases-clearing double to centerfield as well in the sixth, while Steffens added a RBI single to left field.  Ashland scored its lone run in the top of the fifth on a RBI single to right field.  Burgard improved her season record to 5-5 in the circle for PNW pitching all seven innings and giving up just seven hits, one run (earned) and no walks with three strikeouts.


Purdue Northwest (20-17 overall/10-10 GLIAC) hosts a GLIAC doubleheader against Tiffin University on Saturday, April 21.  The first game of the twinbill is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT start at the Fifth Third Bank Field.