December 3, 2020

Softball splits first SLIAC doubleheader with Blackburn

The Webster University softball team showed two sides in its St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opening doubleheader. Freshman pitcher Rachel Franck — who leads the team in wins and batting average — had to leave early with an injury.

The Gorloks hosted Blackburn College (Ill.) on Tuesday, April 2 at Blackburn Park.

Freshman pitcher Rachel Franck (No. 12) releases the ball during her start in Game 2 of the doubleheader against Blackburn College (Ill.) on Tuesday, April 2 at Blackburn Park. Franck left the game with an arm injury, which she said was a stress fracture. PHOTO BY BRITTANY RUESS.

Senior pitcher Trisha Thompson was needed for only 5 innings as she started  Game 1 against Blackburn. The Gorloks put up 9 runs in 3 innings in a game that lasted only an hour. The scoring started with sophomore first baseman Taylor Gibbs ripping a 2-0 pitch for a 2-run home run.

“We didn’t know what the tone was going to be, but (that home run) set it,” Gibbs said. “It was perfect, and right in my spot.”

Gibbs had 2 hits and 3 RBIs in the two games.

Thompson didn’t need anymore than that. She pitched a three-hit shutout with 7 strikeouts over 5 innings in a 9-0 win.

Franck, as the designated hitter in Game 1, earned a hit in each of her 3 at-bats, stole three bases and drove in a run as Webster mercy ruled the Beavers.

However, the momentum swung to Blackburn in the second game. In a 9-2 loss, the Gorloks didn’t score until the fifth inning and were stuck in pitching jams early.

“We won the first game thinking we would win the second,” said Webster coach Chris Eaton. “The other team came out ready to play.”

Thompson was forced to again take the mound  in the first inning, after the Game 2 starter, Franck, re-aggravated a stress fracture in her pitching arm.

Franck said the injury first occurred during spring break when she played in Florida. The stress fracture arose because when she pitches, she hits her forearm against her leg each time she follows through.

“I’m not really suppose to be playing on it because it could break,” Franck said. “I’m going to push it as much as I can.”

The Webster roster has only three pitchers, and Franck leads the staff with five wins. She also is one of the team’s biggest threats at the plate. Francks’ .459 batting average leads the team.

These were Webster’s first games in eight days due to rainouts, and its next game is a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 3. Webster will host nonconference Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Ind.). Franck said she would be upset if she cannot return to play for those games.

Thompson couldn’t continue her effective pitching into the second game as she gave up runs but struck out 11 in 6 1/3 innings. Eaton said that it wasn’t all on Thompson’s shoulders, and the defense let her down with three errors.

“We just made a couple errors that just set the tone,” Gibbs said. “Everybody is cold and tired, and that could have definitely been a factor.”

The Gorlok bats were also settled in Game 2 scoring only 2 runs on 8 hits.

“We just had better approaches (in the first game),” Eaton said. “Our approach was totally different the first game, and we just didn’t wait on our pitches in the second game.”

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