The Purdue University Calumet softball team continued to make a case for itself to a national audience Friday, as the Peregrines swept No. 25 Taylor University in a home doubleheader at the Sparta Dome, 3-0 and 9-3.
The Peregrines (6-3) defeated a ranked opponent for the third and fourth time this season after beating No. 16 Central Methodist and topping Georgia Gwinnett, which is receiving votes in the latest NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, during their play in the Gulf Shores (Ala.) Invite last weekend.
Senior Alicia Ward (Mishawaka, Ind./Jimtown) led the way at the plate with five hits (5-for-7) and five RBI and classmate Alison Kimble (Greenup, Ill./Cumberland) had another big day in the circle, picking up the Game 1 shutout with a career-high 13 strikeouts and before closing out Game 2 with two innings of relief.
The Peregrines return to action Tuesday, March 17, when they host Olivet Nazarene in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader.
GAME 1: PURDUE CALUMET 3, #25 TAYLOR 0
The Peregrines used timely hitting to score runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and Alison Kimble kept the Trojans’ (6-6) batters off-balance all seven innings to give the Peregrines the Game 1 win.
Purdue Calumet broke open a scoreless game in the fourth, as senior Ashley Adams (Lafayette, Ind./Central Catholic) led off the frame with a double to right center. Freshman Kaitlyn Skarecky (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) then singled to put two runners on, setting up an Alex Morales (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) sacrifice bunt that scored sophomore Emily Cole (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln Way North), who pinch ran for Adams.
In the fifth, Leah Hall (Catlin, Ill./Catlin) opened the inning with a leadoff single and pinch runner Allyson Leach (Demotte, Ind./North Newton) later scored when Alicia Ward crushed an RBI double to center field. The Peregrines would add their final run in the sixth, as Skarecky (double) scored on an Olivia Donley (Bourbonais, Ill./Bradley) sacrifice fly to center.
Alison Kimble (3-2) had one of her best outings of the season, scattering eight hits, striking out a career-high 13 and walking zero en route to her first shutout victory of the year.
GAME 2: PURDUE CALUMET 9, #25 TAYLOR 3
The Peregrines were able to plate runs in five of the six innings they batted in a convincing Game 2 victory.
Ward started her 3-for-4, four-RBI performance in the first, when she singled and later scored on an Adams RBI base-knock to right field. The Peregrines would get two more runs in the second, capitalizing off two Taylor errors that led to a two-RBI double by Ward to score Samantha Oppenhuis (Munster, Ind./Iliana Christian) and Kellie Mink (Stilesville, Ind./Cascade).
After Taylor scored one on a Peregrine error in the third, Purdue Calumet would bolster its lead to 5-1 when Donley roped a double to left field that scored two. One inning later, Adams blasted a two-run shot to left field to make it 7-1 Peregrines. Purdue Calumet would score two more in the sixth on another Ward two-run double.
The Trojans had a chance to make it a big offensive inning in the sixth after Lauren Ehle homered to left field to lead off the frame. Taylor would then load the bases with nobody out, but Kimble, who came on in relief, struck out a batter looking and then got major help from Ward in center field, who caught the next flyout and then gunned down the runner trying to score at home plate.
Mink (2-0) picked up her second win of the season in the circle, as she gave up five hits, one earned run and struck out four in 5.0 innings pitched.