Crusaders Walk-off in Ninth to Secure Sweep in Home Opener
Softball - Sun, Mar. 19, 2017
News Photo
Game 1
Game 2
9 Innings
Cleary University
Final - Game 11234567RHE
Cleary University (9-4)0000000031
Madonna University (10-8)000220X4102
Livonia, MI University Field
Cleary UniversityPitchingMadonna University
-Winner Combs,Erin
Cleary UniversityIndv. StatsMadonna University
NoneDoubles #10 Rebain,Kayla
NoneTriples None
NoneHome Runs None
Final - Game 2123456789RHE
Cleary University (9-5)001110000372
Madonna University (11-8)2001000014112
Livonia, MI University Field
Cleary UniversityPitchingMadonna University
-Winner Henry,Madisen
Cleary UniversityIndv. StatsMadonna University
NoneDoubles #31 Thompson,Morgan
NoneTriples None
NoneHome Runs None

LIVONIA, Mich. – Strong outings by Erin Combs (SR/Imlay City, Mich.), Paige Montague (JR/Clio, Mich.) and Madisen Henry (FR/Swartz Creek, Mich.) were backed by timely hits as the Madonna University softball team swept their home opener with Cleary University on Sunday afternoon, 4-0 and 4-3, the latter coming in nine innings.

The wins push Madonna to 11-8 on the season while the Cougars slip to 9-5 overall. Madonna collected 21 hits on the day, but scored just eight runs while Cleary tallied three runs on 10 hits over 16 innings.

In game one, a 4-0 shutout, Combs was masterful as she improved to 6-3 on the season and lowered her ERA to 1.62. The senior right-hander allowed just three hits while striking out seven and walking two in her seventh complete game and second shutout of the year.

Not to be outdone, Kayla Rebain (SR/Plymouth, Mich.) bumped her average to .415 as the Crusaders first basemen went 3-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI to back Combs. Morgan Kaiser (SR/Flat Rock, Mich.) added two hits and a run scored as well as Madonna tallied 10 hits in the win.

Cleary put a runner on in every inning but the fifth, however, Combs did not allow a runner to reach second in the contest. The solid pitching allowed the offense to do some work, which it did in the fourth.

Back-to-back one-out singles by Breanna Keethler (SR/Flat Rock, Mich.) and Rebain put two on and Kerstyn Comerzan (SO/Woodhaven, Mich.) advanced both runners with a groundout before Morgan Thompson (SR/Fort Gratiot, Mich.) delivered a two-out RBI single for the first run. A passed ball allowed the speedy Rebain to score for 2-0 advantage.

In the fifth, the top of the lineup got in on the action as Kaiser and Mikey Kish (SR/Allen Park, Mich.) began the frame with back-to-back singles. Bri Giordano (SR/Plymouth, Mich.) scored Kaiser on a sacrifice fly to centerfield before Rebain delivered another two-out RBI with a single to score Kish for the 4-0 lead.

The Crusaders struck out just twice in the contest, but left seven on base.

In the second game, freshman Madisen Henry notched her third career win as she allowed just two hits, one walk and struck out seven in 4.2 innings of relief and the Crusaders did just enough on offense to earn the win.

After MU's starter, left-hander Montague, got through the top of the first in three pitches, the offense went to work. Kaiser led off with a walk, Emma Sikina (FR/Woodhaven, Mich.) singled, a wild pitch advanced them both 60-feet and a Nicky Salloum (SR/Livonia, Mich.) groundout brought in the game's first run. Giordano followed with an infield single and MU was up 2-0.

Montague again sat the Cougars down in order in the second, but ran into trouble in the third. A leadoff hit by pitch came around to score thanks to a Crusaders error and a two-out single by Megan Baumgartner.

The Cougars tied the score in the fourth as a pair of hits and two groundouts brought in Cleary's second run. Madonna answered though in the bottom of the frame. Rebain reached on an error and scored two batters later on Thompson's sacrifice fly for the 3-2 lead.

Things got dicey in the fifth. Back-to-back singles and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for CU and a failed double play at home tied the score at three with two on and one out. Henry was then called on in relief and notched a strikeout and a fly out to end the rally.

After Madonna stranded a pair of runners in the eighth, Cleary did the same to begin the ninth, setting the stage for a Crusaders walk-off.

Thompson continued her impressive day with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a passed ball. Then with runners at the corners and one out, Sikina grounded to the shortstop whose throw home skipped past the catcher, allowing Comerzan, who ran for Thompson, to score the winning run.

Thompson, whose runner scored the winning run, finished 2-for-3 with an RBI while Giordano went 3-for-4 with a run batted in. Six other Crusaders tallied a hit in the contest as MU posted 11 of them, drew a walk and struck out just two times. Montague and Henry combined to notch 11 K's in the win while allowing just one freebie.

Madonna will have some time to rest as they have 10 days before beginning Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference play on Wednesday, Mar. 29 with a trip to the University of Michigan – Dearborn. First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 3:30 p.m.

CONNECT WITH THE CRUSADERS: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
BE THE FIRST TO KNOW: Text & Email Alerts
DOWNLOAD OUR MOBILE APPS: iOS (iPhone/iPad) | Android

Record: 0-0 Home: 0-0 Away: 0-0 WHAC: 0-0