Welcome to The Doghouse, a weekly column recapping Union University sports action from the weekend.
Softball went 2-1 against West Alabama, while baseball went 1-2. Also, the Jillz, Union’s women’s Ultimate team, participated in their first tournament this weekend, going 1-5.
After their inception in the fall, the Jillz played in their first USA Ultimate sanctioned tournament this weekend. Nine teams participated in the Xdames 2017 event at Vanderbilt.
“I didn’t know what to expect from our team,” Morgan Morfe, Jillz captain, said. “I knew we had been working hard in practice, but I also knew we would be playing against teams that had been established for 20+ years. I was excited for the learning experience as a team and nervous about doing something brand new with a fresh, brand new team.”
In Saturday’s pool play, Union went 0-4, with losses to Auburn 11-0, Emory (B) 7-4, Alabama 11-1, and Belmont 10-2.
“The girls completely blew me away. I was so impressed with how hard our team worked on every point,” Morfe said. “They defended with a passion and a drive to never give up. On offense, the girls were open to receive a pass at will, no matter how tough the defense [was].”
Sunday, Union was put into a pool for seventh place with Southern Indiana and Emory (B).
The Jillz defeated Southern Indiana 10-9 for their first ever win.
“’Ecstatic’ does not convey the amount of excitement and pride I had for the Jillz after winning our game against Southern Indiana,” Morfe said. “The girls had given 110% effort on every point, and had worked so hard to win.”
Then, Union lost to Emory (B) 10-4. Southern Indiana, Union, and Emory (B) each went 1-1 on Sunday, and the tiebreaker gave Union ninth place.
The Jillz were awarded the Spirit of the Game Award at the tournament, and are 1-5 on the season.
“This tournament showed what a hardworking, diligent, determined group of girls we have playing for the Jillz,” Morfe said. “I’m excited for our team to continue developing and competing.”
Coming off a week of wins, including head coach Heather Hall’s 300th, the Lady Bulldogs found continued success against West Alabama. The final scores of Saturday’s games were 11-3 and 0-5, and the Lady Bulldogs took the rubber match 9-1.
In the first game, Union opened with five runs in the bottom of the fourth off of five hits and one error. The rest of the runs scored for each team came in the fifth inning. West Alabama scored three runs without any hits, reaching base off of three walks, two errors, a hit batter and a fielder’s choice. Union put up six runs on seven hits, including a 2-RBI triple from Emily Bennett that set the score at 11-3, good for a mercy rule win.
Hannah Ridolfi pitched all five innings for the Lady Bulldogs, earning her tenth win of the season. Ridolfi allowed three runs on four walks, two hit batters, and zero hits.
In the second game, West Alabama’s first run came in the top of the first inning. Jenna Goldsmith walked and Ashley Smart laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Goldsmith to second. Then, Allison Craft tripled, scoring Goldsmith. The Tigers scored four more runs in the top of the fifth, an inning that included five hits, a fielder’s choice bunt, and a stolen base.
After her earlier win, Ridolfi started this game, but was pulled in the fifth. Ridolfi took the loss, after allowing five runs on seven hits. Parker Davis and Gabby Morris pitched relief, combining for 2.1 innings with one hit, one walk, and zero runs allowed.
Sunday, West Alabama scored first with a one-run first inning, but Union dominated the remainder of play. In the bottom of the first, the Lady Bulldogs put up three runs on three hits, including a Morris two-run homer. In the next inning, Union scored four runs on four hits and an error. Bennett reached on a bunt and then stole second, and Ridolfi also stole second that inning. In the fourth inning, West Alabama had two hits, but left three runners on base, scoring zero runs. In the bottom of the inning, Union scored one run on two hits and a sacrifice bunt. In the fifth, Union added one run off of a hit, a sacrifice bunt, and an error, setting the mercy rule final of 9-1.
Ridolfi earned the win, pitching her third start of the weekend and allowing one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts.
The Lady Bulldogs have an overall record of 18-14, and are 6-12 in conference action.
The Bulldogs went 1-2 this weekend, with scores of 5-11, 6-2, and 2-3.
In the first game, Union scored first, with Nolen Milton reaching home after an inning of zero hits, three walks, a hit batter and a fielder’s choice. West Alabama scored seven runs before the Bulldogs struck again.
The Tigers came alive thanks to a pair of two-run homers, one from Marcus Morrisette in the second and the other from Tyler Lee in the fourth. In the fifth inning, the Tigers put up three runs on three hits and one error. In the bottom of the inning, Union scored two runs on a homer from Zach Phillips. After Hayden Lewis singled and stole second, two batters walked, but the Bulldogs left all three stranded.
In the sixth, West Alabama scored four runs on five hits. In the same inning, Union scored one run on two hits. The last run of the contest was the fifth for the Bulldogs, as Nolen Milton hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth.
JR Miller took the loss for Union, his first of the season. Miller pitched 5.1 innings and allowed 11 runs on 12 hits. Austin Kitterman came in for 3.2 innings of shutout relief.
In the second game, Union bounced back, winning 6-2. The game began similarly to how the last ended, with a Milton sacrifice fly scoring a run for Union. In the third, West Alabama took the lead with two runs on two different wild pitches. The Tigers had three hits in the inning.
Union regained the lead with five runs on three homeruns. Ryne Roper and Zach Wylie each hit a solo shot in the fifth, while Phillips launched a three-run homer in the sixth.
Teddy Christie earned the win, allowing two runs on six hits through 5.1 innings. Marty Coursey earned the save, throwing 1.2 hitless innings.
Sunday, the Tigers and the Bulldogs were in a tight contest. West Alabama scored first with two runs on two hits and one error in the third inning. In the bottom of the third, Milton homered for Union to cut the deficit to 2-1. Neither team scored again until the eighth, when Phillips homered for Union to tie the ballgame.
Lee hit a homerun in the ninth to win the game for the Tigers.
Skyler Harrison pitched the full game for Union, taking the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.
The Bulldogs are now 21-9 overall and 10-7 in conference.
Tuesday, softball plays a doubleheader at LeMoyne-Owen and baseball hosts Trevecca Nazarene. Wednesday, softball plays a doubleheader at Bethel University. Both baseball and softball will host West Florida over the weekend.