CLERMONT, Fla. - The University of Michigan-Dearborn softball team played three games on its second day in Florida, taking two to improve to 4-1 early in the 2017 season.
The Wolverines ran away from Saint Thomas University 15-5 (six innings) in the opener before dropping a closely contested matchup with Gannon University, an NCAA Division II program, 2-0. UM-Dearborn closed the day with a back-and-forth 8-7 win over Lake Erie College, also a member of NCAA Division II.
Against STU, the Wolverines got rolling early, scoring five times in the first two innings. STU rebounded for four runs in the second and tied the game with another in the third. From there it was all UM-Dearborn, highlighted by a three-run home run from freshman Kassidy Butler (SO/Parchment, MI). Rachel Dolland (SO/Lake Orion, MI) added three RBIs, including a one-run double.
The Wolverines finished the game with 14 hits and three errors. Dolland led the way with four hits and four RBIs, while Riley Hison (SO/Macomb Township, MI) added three hits, including a double and drove in three runs. Sarah Prashad (SO/Mississauga, Ontario), Riley Miller (JR/Birmingham, MI) and Hison each scored three runs in the win.
Alexandra Elwell (SR/Kalamazoo, MI) entered the game in the third, tossing the final four innings, allowing no runs on three hits and struck out two, earning the win.
Gannon's Olivia Gumbita held the Wolverines off the scoreboard and allowed just five hits, while striking out eight in the second game. The Wolverines held the game close thanks to the pitching efforts of starter Elwell and freshman Ashlynn Henderson (FR/Temecula, CA), who made her UM-Dearborn debut. Elwell (1-1) went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and stuck out two. Henderson kept Gannon scoreless, allowing four hits in three innings and picked up her first career strikeout.
In the finale, the Wolverines found themselves down 3-0 after the first, but UM-Dearborn fought back. Starting pitcher Gina Verduzco (JR/Portage, MI) helped her own cause with a two-run single in the first before Taylor Moceri (SR/Sterling Heights, MI) drove in a pair with a single in the second to put the Wolverines in front. Butler continued her tear with an RBI single to drive in Moceri as UM-Dearborn led 5-3 after two.
The Storm scored three in the third to regain the lead before a Moceri triple drove in a pair to put the Wolverines back on top. Kylie Hill (SR/Adrian, MI) doubled to extend the UM-Dearborn lead to 8-6 in the third. A late run from Lake Erie was not enough as Verduzco shut down the Storm in the seventh for the win.
Verduzco (2-0) earned her second win of the season, going the distance, allowing seven runs, three earned, on nine hits and struck out four.
The Wolverines finished the game against Lake Erie with 12 hits and four errors. Hill led the team with three hits, including two doubles, while Moceri was 2-for-2 with four RBIs. Amy Jarrett (FR/Howell, MI) added two hits and a run scored.
The Wolverines play three more starting with Wheeling Jesuit University at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Clermont, Fla.