Contact: Jeff Sattora
Cleveland- The Cleveland State Vikings fell in a heartbreaker Saturday afternoon, dropping game one of a three game Horizon League weekend series to the Loyola Ramblers, 5-4 in ten innings. The loss drops CSU to 15-19 on the year and 6-4 in league play.
Cleveland State got on the board early Saturday, scoring in the bottom of the first to take a quick 1-0 lead. Darien Ward led off the game beating out a single to the pitcher to get things going for the offense. Ward's speed forced a throwing error by the Loyola pitcher and the freshman moved to second base with no outs. Back-to-back outs followed but Erica McNew pushed Ward across as a single to left field gave the home team an early lead.
The second inning saw Loyola come right back with a response, as Tarran Shaffer hit the first of her two solo homers on the day to tie things at one all.
In the third inning CSU jumped back in the lead as three straight hits by the middle of the line-up,Dara Toman, McNew and Caila Ferro put two runs on the board. Following a Toman double, McNew singled to put two runners on base. Ferro then hit a deep triple to right field to bring the two runs around, making the score 3-1.
After scoring a run in both the fifth and sixth innings, Loyola brought the game back to 3-3 late in the contest.
A scoreless seventh inning saw the game go into extras, where unsuccessful scoring chances doomed the Vikings.
The eighth inning saw the Vikings start off strong, loading the bases with no outs in a tie game. With Cynthia Woodard singling down the left field line and back-to-back walks to Toman and McNew, it looked like everything was going in the home team's favor. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Loyola had other ideas as they forced three straight outs to keep the game tied.
The Ramblers would not waste chances of their own in the 10th inning, as they scored two runs to jump into a 5-3 lead. A walk and two hits, including a two RBI double by Brie Pasqaule to left field pushed open the lead.
Cleveland State would have its chance again in the bottom of the inning as the home team once again loaded the bases with no outs, this time with a two-run deficit. Three straight walks by the same trio that loaded the bases earlier, Woodard, Toman and McNew, loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th to give CSU a chance. While Caila Ferro came up next and grounded out to second base to push one run across and make it 5-4, the Vikings weren't able to keep the rally going and eventually fell short.
Despite dropping to 9-8 on the year, freshman Susan Knight had a solid day on the mound in the defeat, going all 10 innings in the circle. Knight gave up 10 hits and five runs, while also striking out nine batters.
The Vikings and Ramblers will be back in action tomorrow for a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. Those two games will take place of the doubleheader that was originally scheduled for Saturday, but had to be adjusted due to cold temperatures.