Bison struggle in Southern road trip

Justin Schaumberger, Sports Co-Editor

The Bison softball team struggled in a series of games over spring break. The team went 1-10 while on a massive road trip to Florida and then Tennessee. The Orange and Blue did beat a tough Western Michigan team 1-0 to secure their lone victory of the road trip. The Bison now sit with a 3-20 record on the season.

The road trip started in Madeira Beach, Florida where the Bison played a series of five games over a three-day span. The Bison jumped out early in their first game against Sienna with Chase Knapp ’23  and Zoie Smith ’24 hitting RBI singles in the third inning. Sienna responded, scoring a run of their own in the third to make it 2-1. Madison Roukey ’25 kept the Sienna bats at bay, not allowing another run for the next two innings. In the sixth, Sienna managed to hit a walk-off 2-run home run to win 3-2.  

In the next three games against Toledo, LIU, and Purdue, the Bison bats struggled. They lost by scores of 2-5, 2-7, and 0-8 (5). There were, however, some bright spots for the Bison. Mackenzie Hilling ’25 and Knapp each had three hits across the three games and Nicole Rivait ’22, Smith, and Ava Aguilar ’25 had an RBI each. 

In the final game of the weekend, the Bison defeated Western Michigan by a score of 1-0. Kelly Toomey ’22 threw a gem for the Bison. The senior ace threw seven shutout innings, only allowed five hits, and struck out six batters. While the Bison bats were held at bay for most of the game, they were able to find life in the sixth inning of the 0-0 game. Sarah Baluch ’22 hit a one-out single and then was able to advance to second on an error. Then with two outs in the inning, Smith hit a single to left field that scored the go-ahead run. After another scoreless half-inning by Toomey, the Bison earned their victory. 

After the games in Madeira Beach, the Bison traveled to Jacksonville for two games against North Florida. North Florida’s pitching was on point, holding the Bison scoreless in both contests and winning 9-0 (5) and 4-0. Despite the rough series overall, Bella Radican ’25 had two good games as she had three hits in five at-bats. 

To finish the road trip, the Bison traveled north to Tennessee to play Southeastern-Louisiana University and UT-Chattanooga. In the first game, Southeastern-Louisiana University jumped out to a 5-0 lead on the backs of a three-run third inning. The Bison rallied late, scoring two runs in the fifth inning off RBI singles from Baluch and Juliette Basso ’25. Then, in the sixth inning, Rivait hit a two-run home run to cut the Lions’ lead to 5-4. Unfortunately, the Bison were not able to plate the tying run and fell by a score of 5-4. 

The next three games for the Bison were tough as they fell to UT-Chattanooga 0-9 (5) and 0-5 and to Southeastern-Louisiana University 2-11 (5). Rivait had another two hits for the Bison while Kaiya Burton ’23 threw two shutout innings in relief. 

The Bison will look to bounce back and regain their winning form as they enter Patriot League play. Their first change will be a three-game series against Holy Cross on Mar. 26 and Mar. 27.  

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