Finlandia earns split with Bay College Monday

Justin St. Ours/Daily Press (Escanaba) Bay College’s Kaitlyn Hardwick hits the ball against Finlandia University Monday at Wells.

WELLS — The weather was cooling down but the Bay College softball team was warming up as it split with the Finlandia Lions here Monday, dropping the opener, 9-6, and rallying for a 7-6 win in the nightcap.

The first game was tied at three coming into the top of the fourth. After a single and a walk, Finlandia’s Kyndell Coffman doubled to score two. Cassy Lopez singled next to push Coffman home and give the Lions a 6-3 lead.

Finlandia collected one run in the fifth and two more in the seventh to seal the game.

Denia Bent earned the win for the Lions over seven innings. She allowed 10 hits, six runs (all earned) and one homer. Lopez finished with four hits and one RBI, and Bent notched one hit, four RBIs and two runs.

Lexi Winling took the loss for the Norse over four innings. She allowed seven hits, five walks, one home run and six runs, all of which were earned. She struck out five. Rhiley Hubert pitched three innings in relief. She allowed five hits, one walk and three runs (one earned). She struck out four. Kaitlyn Hardwick collected two hits and one RBI. Richelle Vandeville homered and finished with two hits and one RBI. Emily Bruntjens, Jerrika McAlpine and Claire McInerney all notched one run, one hit and one RBI.

The Lions led 5-0 going into the top of the sixth in the second game. With one out and two singles, Hardwick singled to score Emily Bruntjens, but another runner was tagged out at third. Maddy Griffin followed that up with a single to center to bat in Hardwick. Directly after, Vandeville homered to cut the Norse deficit to 5-4. A single and a strikeout ended the top of the inning.

The Lions (8-22) scored once in the bottom of the sixth on a wild pitch to increase their lead to 6-4.

Bruntjens tripled on a shot to center to start Bay’s rally in the top of the seventh. McAlpine then doubled and Bruntjens scored to cut its deficit to 6-5. McAlpine crossed the plate on a double from Hardwick to tie the game at six. Hardwick was pushed in by Vandeville to put the Norse in front 7-6.

Bent started off the bottom of the seventh for the Lions with a single. Makenna Gorham then hit a ground ball toward third and reached on a fielder’s choice as Bent was tagged out at second. A strikeout and a pop caught by Hubert sealed the game for the Norse.

The game started out slowly for both teams, but Finlandia was the first on the board in the bottom of the third as Frannette Fernandez snuck in on a wild pitch. Elijah Marshall crossed the plate soon after on a sacrifice fly to left field from Rheanna Bain to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.

Finlandia collected one run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to lead 5-0 going into the top of the sixth.

“We had a 5-0 lead coming into the sixth,” Lions’ coach Matt Farrell said. “I give them credit for a nice comeback. They had some clutch hits that turned it around for them. But I thought we played much better than we did last week. We really brought the bats today, but it’s a tough loss.”

Fernandez took the loss for the Lions over 6 1/3 innings. She struck out four and allowed 13 hits, one homer and seven runs, all earned. Bent collected one RBI, three hits and one run and Gorham finished with one hit and one RBI.

Hubert earned the win for the Norse. She struck out seven and allowed 10 hits, two walks and six runs with five being earned. Vandeville homered once and finished with two hits, three RBIs and one run. Hardwick tallied two RBIs, three hits and two runs.

The Norse travel to Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wis. Wednesday, while Finlandia hosts Northland College Thursday.

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