COLUMBUS, Ga. — Twice on Saturday afternoon, the University of Rio Grande softball team tried to grab a Tiger by the tail.
Twice, the end result wasn’t so successful.
Brenau (Ga.) University and Campbellsville (Ky.) University both pulled away late to hand the the RedStorm a pair of setbacks in the NFCA NAIA Leadoff Classic at the South Commons Complex.
Brenau’s Golden Tigers pushed across single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to seal a 5-2 victory over the RedStorm in the first game of the day, while the 13th-ranked Campbellsville Tigers scored seven times over their final two at bats for a 9-1 mercy rule-shortened win in the wrap-up of the day.
Rio Grande finished the day at 4-10 with the two losses.
In the opener against Brenau, the RedStorm sliced an early 3-1 deficit in half thanks to a two-out, RBI single by senior Lexi Philen (Tallmadge, OH) in the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Golden Tigers got the run back in the sixth and added an insurance marker in the seventh to nail down the win.
Rio put runners at first and second with one out in the sixth before the inning ended in a double play and also got a leadoff hit from junior Kayla Slutz (Navarre, OH) in the seventh, but the next three batters were routinely retired in order.
Sophomore Kenzie Cremeens (Ironton, OH) went 3-for-3 in the loss for Rio, including a game-tying home run in the second inning, while Slutz had two hits and sophomore Shelby Schmitt (Fairfield, OH) added a double.
Junior Raelynn Hastings (Commercial Point, OH) started and took the loss for the RedStorm, allowing five hits, four walks and three runs over three innings.
Brooke Kibbe went the distance in the circle for Brenau, scattering eight hits and a walk with a strikeout en route for the win.
Faith Grooms had two hits, including a home run, and two runs batted in, while Shelton Hendrix went 2-for-3 with a double.
Game two saw Campbellsville pound out 17 hits — 16 of which were singles — and send the game to an early finish with three runs in the fifth inning and four runs in the sixth to invoke the 8-run mercy rule.
Tori Humphrey had three hits and drove in four runs for the Tigers, while Lexi Miller was 3-for-4 with two RBI and Riley Whitney was 2-for-3 with a run batted in.
Payton Blades, Hannah Judd, Sam McKee and Dana Adkins all added two hits of their own to the winning effort.
Courtney Patterson picked up the win in the circle for CU, allowing three hits and run over five innings while striking out three.
Sophomore Zoe Doll (Minford, OH) started and took the loss for Rio Grande, allowing five hits and two runs over three innings.
Sophomore Taylor Webb (Willow Wood, OH) had two of the RedStorm’s four hits and Creemens had the club’s lone RBI on a sixth inning sacrifice fly.
Rio Grande was scheduled to wrap up the three-day, six-game weekend event on Sunday morning against Thomas (Ga.) and seventh-ranked Mobile (Ala.).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.