Defending Scenic West Athletic Conference softball champion College of Southern Idaho didnâ€™t waste any time picking up where it left off last season on Wednesday against Western Nevada College.
The ninth ranked Golden Eagles hit four home runs and nearly no-hit the Wildcats en route to a 16-0 win in the conference opener for both teams in St. George, Utah.
When these teams last met in the Region 18 tournament last May, the Wildcats nearly upset the Golden Eagles, leading 2-1 in the fifth inning before falling 7-2.
Game two on Wednesday was more like that contest through four innings. WNC scored twice in the fourth inning to pull within a run, but CSI used a six-run fifth inning to pull away to a 15-2 victory.
Carlee Beck started in the circle in game two and kept the CSI bats relatively quiet through four innings. Whitney Littledike scored on a two-out wild pitch in the second inning and Aubrey Whitmer homered to start the third inning, which ended with CSI in front 3-0.
The Wildcats battled back in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring twice after two were out. Cara McCarthy reached on an infield error, Makenzie Hospodka walked and Meghan Hospodka singled to center field to load the bases. McCarthy scored the Wildcatsâ€™ first run of the day when Septonâ€™s grounder was booted. Jenny Rechel followed with a run-scoring single to left field off winning pitcher Brandi Hall, trimming CSIâ€™s lead to 3-2.
But CSI erupted for six runs in the top fifth and six more in the seventh to pull away. In the fifth, Aubrey Whitmer hit her second leadoff homer of the game to make the score 4-2. The other big hit of the inning was Shea Ibrahimâ€™s bases-clearing triple. Then, Amanda Sheets plated Ibrahim with a sacrifice fly, putting CSI ahead 9-2.
The Golden Eagles scored 11 runs against WNC starting pitcher Lindsey Ashbaugh.
Aubrey Whitmerâ€™s two-run homer highlighted a six-run first inning, and Kayla Carterâ€™s two-run blast was the big hit in the Golden Eaglesâ€™ five-run second.
Sierra Whitmer socked CSIâ€™s third homer of the game, a solo shot in the third, putting the Golden Eagles ahead 12-0.
In the fourth, Markli Ashton went deep off Asbaugh and Littledike stroked a two-run double to left field, increasing CSIâ€™s lead to 16-0.
The Wildcats spoiled Sierra Whitmerâ€™s no-hit bid when Meghan Hospodka lined a one-out double to center field in the fifth inning. Hospodka stole third base and Heather Septon, who reached on an error, swiped second base with two outs. But the Wildcats were stranded in scoring position when Hali Bennion grounded out to end the game.
After losing their first three games to open the season, the Golden Eagles have been on a roll, winning seventh straight. WNC slipped to 2-5 overall.
The teams conclude their four-games SWAC series Thursday with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Fans can follow the games at GameChanger.io.