AKRON, Ohio– The seventh-seeded Akron softball team closed the 2017 season with a 7-5 loss to the No. 8 seed Western Michigan in the third round of the 2017 Mid-American Conference Championship on Friday afternoon at Firestone Stadium.
Western Michigan (25-28 overall) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning from a two-run homer from Courtney Sleeman.
The Zips (27-30 overall) answered back in the bottom of the fourth inning and scored four runs. Sophomore 1B Laura Lakins (Akron, Ohio) got the Zips on the board with an RBI single. With runners on first and second, senior OF Savannah Fruin (Delray Beach, Fla.) was able to score on a throwing error on the catcher. With two outs, sophomore DP Kelly Hysong (Beach City, Ohio) hit a two-run home run that put Akron ahead, 4-2.
In the top of the fifth inning the Broncos re-gained the lead and scored five runs which gave them a 7-4 advantage.
Akron chipped away at the Broncos' lead in the bottom of the fifth inning and scored a run on a sacrifice fly from junior OF Taylor Kirian (New Riegel, Ohio).
The Zips left runners stranded on base in the bottom of the sixth and seventh before the game was called on a controversial double play, sealing WMU's 7-5 win.
Freshman Lexie Handley (Mogadore, Ohio) took the loss and pitched 4.2 innings. She struck out two batters and walked one. Junior Kooper Vertz (Dilsboro, Ind.) came in for relief in the top of the fifth inning and finished the game with one strikeout.
The game marked the final outing for the Zips' Senior Class- OF Savannah Fruin (Delray Beach, Fla.), C Alyssa Nicholas (Cortland, Ohio), and 2B Anna Tarpley (Jacksonville, Fla.). The seniors of won 25-plus games every season and advanced to the MAC Tournament four consecutive years.