MESA, Ariz. – The Siena Heights softball team dropped their opening contests of the 2018 season to Benedictine-Mesa (Ariz.) by only one run each, 9-8 and 4-3, with their second game going into 10 innings, on Sunday.
The Saints struck in the first as Kelsey Cherry sent Lexi Agers home, prior to the Redhawks scoring three of their own, making it 3-1 at the top of the first. Again in the third inning Agers scored on a hit by Kris Forest, but BENU-Mesa also scored, keeping their two run lead, 4-2.
Siena Heights found life in the sixth and seventh innings, scoring three runs at the top of both innings to hold an 8-4 lead heading into the final half inning of action. The Redhawks came out strong, sending five runners home to earn the 9-8 win in the first game.
Hayley Turk and Cherry each held two hits for SHU while Turk led the Saints with three RBIs. Agers and Turk each added two runs for the Saints as Ashley Best, Racquel Ward, Ashley Bearden and Jordan Bianchi each crossed home once. BENU-Mesa was led by Vanessa Marquez who went 3-for-3 at the plate while adding three runs for the Redhawks (9-11).
Taking the loss on the mound was Ward, allowing 13 hits and eight earned runs with two strikeouts. Marquez threw the first 6.1 innings for the Redhawks and allowed six hits and eight runs with one strikeout before being relieved by Kalli Ohton who allowed no hits and earned a strikeout.
The second game started off quiet until the third inning when the Saints tallied two runs, Agers sending Kristi Carlson home and Ashley Helmink hitting a single to send Agers home. The Redhawks responded, scoring once in the bottom of the third to make it 2-1. Benedictine-Mesa added two runs in the fifth to earn a 3-2 lead over the Saints.
Siena Heights had two outs with Carlson on base in the top of the seventh, Helmink hit a deep double into right-center to send Carlson home and give the Saints life. SHU held the Redhawks scoreless in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, but were unable to hold on as the Redhawks scored the winning run in the bottom of the tenth.
Helmink led the Saints (0-2) with three hits and two RBIs as Carlson earned two hits and two runs for SHU. Three different Redhawks earned two hits each while Amber Casarez tallied two runs.
In the circle, Lauren Best managed two strikeouts while allowing 10 hits and three earned runs. Throwing all 10 innings for BENU-Mesa was Dayton Yingling, striking out eight Saints while allowing eight hits and three earned runs.
Siena Heights will return to Spring Break action on Monday with games a 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. local time, against Grace (Ind.) and Presentation (S.D), respectively. The games will take place at Lincoln Park in Tucson, Ariz.