PLANT CITY, Fla. – The Simmons University softball team was defeated by Illinois College, 9-3, this afternoon at the Randy Larson Complex Stadium in Plant City, Fla. as part of the Sunkissed Games. The Sharks fall to 2-6 on the season, while the Lady Blues improve to 3-3.
Junior center fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) led the Simmons offense, going 2-3 with a run scored, while sophomore catcher Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) knocked in a pair of runs, scored a run and was 1-3. First year Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.) finished 1-3 with an RBI and classmate Alex Morang (Windham, Maine) recorded her first collegiate triple. Senior Tori Gomes (Taunton, Mass.) (1-3) took the loss for SU after giving up three runs on one hit and three walks in a third of an inning.
Sophomore right fielder Sam Seggerman (El Paso, Ill.) went 3-4 with a triple and two runs batted and added two runs scored for IC. Nine different players collected at least one hit for the Lady Blues, including senior catcher Ryleigh Keith (Brimfield, Ill.), who cracked a double and knocked in a pair of runs. Senior Jackie Reilly (Beaumont, Calif.), sophomore Olivia Jordan (Moweaqua, Ill.) and sophomore Jenna Wright (Effingham, Ill.) all registered a hit and drove home a run during the game. Junior right-hander Maddie Nichols (Worden, Ill.) (1-0) earned the victory, allowing three runs on eight hits and struck out a batter.
Illinois College scored the first six runs of the game, including three in the top of the first inning. The Lady Blues put three of their first four batters on the bases to load the sacks with one out to set up a two-run double off the bat of Keith to give them a 2-0 lead. IC tacked on another run later in the inning when sophomore Maddy Morgan (Mount Zion, Ill.) drew a bases-loaded walk to force in a run for a 3-0 margin.
Webster began the third with a bunt single for the Lady Blues and later scored on a two-out triple from Seggerman to increase their advantage to 4-0. Illinois College added two more runs in the top half of the sixth when Seggerman laced a single to right field and later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Wright. Jordan knocked in the sixth IC run with a single to give the Lady Blues a comfortable lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Bott put the Sharks on the board in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run double to plate sophomore left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.), who reached on a bunt single and Del Vacchio, who reached on a fielder's choice. McMahon followed with an RBI single up the middle to plate Bott and cut the deficit in half at 6-3.
First year Mariana Babic (Caseyville, Ill.) and first year Skylar Dees (Williamsville, Ill.) each singled ahead of Seggerman, who knocked in Babic with a run-scoring single down the right field line to give Illinois College a 7-3 lead in the seventh frame. Reilly beat out a bunt single to plate Dees and sophomore Jessica Belzer (Belleville, Ill.) knocked in the Lady Blues' final run of the day with a sacrifice fly.
Simmons looked to rally in its half of the seventh after Morang scampered around the bases on a triple that got past the right fielder down the line, but she was later cut down at the plate trying to score on a fly ball to center field.
The Sharks return to action on Friday, March 8 when they play College of Saint Benedict at 10:00 a.m. in Plant City, Fla., while Illinois College takes on Hood College at 12:15 p.m.