PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Jenna Jones threw an opening game no-hitter and the University of Rio Grande softball team got its weekend road trip off on the right foot, sweeping a Mid-South Conference doubleheader from the University of Pikeville, Friday afternoon, at Paul Butcher Field.
The RedStorm won the opening game, 2-0, and finished off a perfect day with a 7-3 triumph in the nightcap.
Rio Grande improved to 12-7 overall and 7-5 in the MSC with its first twinbill sweep after splitting each of its first five conference doubleheaders.
Pikeville dropped to 4-15 overall and 0-10 in league play.
Jones, a freshman from Lancaster, Ohio, was dazzling in the opener, walking just one and striking out six en route to her seventh win in 12 decisions.
UPike had just one baserunner advance as far as second base in the contest.
The no-hitter was Rio’s first since former standout Anna Smith hurled consecutive no-hitters in a doubleheader sweep of Point Park (Pa.) on April 11, 2009. Smith’s double no-hitter also included the RedStorm’s last perfect game in the opening game win.
The RedStorm, who had just three hits themselves, gave Jones all the offense she would need by pushing across an unearned run in the second inning.
Sophomore Mattie Lanham (Rio Grande, OH) drew a one-out walk and, one out later, scored when freshman Sheana Long’s (Wellston, OH) grounder to third was errored.
Rio tacked on an insurance marker in the fourth inning when junior Haley Gwin (Troy, OH) led off with her first home run of the season.
UPike starter Sydney Morris, who actually played as a freshman at Rio Grande, was the hard-luck loser for the Bears. She allowed just the three hits and one earned run in a complete game effort.
Game two saw Rio Grande jump to a 3-0 second inning lead and then take control by scoring three more times in the fifth inning.
Lanham and freshman Cheyenne Hamaker (Hilliard, OH) had run-scoring doubles in the three-run second, while sophomore Kim Rollins (Cincinnati, OH) hit her fifth home run of the season and sophomore Ariel Roder (Parma Heights, OH) had an RBI double in the three-run fifth inning.
Pikeville got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Eady Beth Connally and a sacrifice fly by Courtney Morgan, but Rio Grande got one of those runs back in the seventh when Roder led off with her second home run of the season.
The Bears closed out the scoring in their final at-bat thanks to a two-out, run-scoring double by Hollie Hinkle.
Roder finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored, while Hamaker also went 2-for-3 with a run batted in. Both of Hamaker’s hits were doubles.
Jones added a triple in the winning effort for the RedStorm, while freshman Kali Weidner (Lancaster, OH) also drove in a run.
Freshman Tiffany Bise (Circleville, OH) improved to 5-2 on the season, scattering 11 hits and two walks in a complete game effort. Only two of the three runs she allowed were earned and she fanned one batter.
Hinkle doubled twice in the loss for UPike, while Brandi Jo Howard and Taylor Weeks also had two hits each.
Lauren Barnes started and took the game two loss for the Bears.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday with another MSC doubleheader at Bluefield (Va.) College.