TIFFIN -- Chris Hammond, the head coach of the University of Rio Grande softball team, probably didn't like it. Chris Hammond, the father of Heidelberg University softball player Raye Hammond, probably loved it.
Hammond, a freshman, hit a go-ahead two-run single in the fifth inning of game two, as the Student Princes snapped an eight-game losing streak and salvaged a split.
Rio Grande won the opener, 7-4, before Hammond's heroics helped lift HU to a 4-3 win in the nightcap.
In two relief appearances, Kaitlyn Moore threw 6.2 innings and allowed two unearned runs on two hits while striking out 10.
GAME ONE: RIO GRANDE 7 HEIDELBERG 4
Rio Grande -- headed for the NAIA National Tournament in two weekends -- started game one by scoring in each of the first four innings. A solo homer in the first, an RBI single in the second, sloppy defense in the third and an RBI triple in the fourth put the visitors on top 5-0.
The Red Storm added two more runs in the seventh.
Down 7-0, HU jumped on relief pitcher Nicole Brown. Kennedy Conney singled to right and advanced to second on a bad throw as Erica Leber reached on a fielder's choice. Joanna Catalano singled to left center, plating Conney. After a double play, Hammond pinch hit and drew a four-pitch walk. Kaitlyn Moore followed and hit a three-run homer just to the left of straight-away center. Heidelberg, however, would not inch any closer.
GAME TWO: HEIDELBERG 4 RIO GRANDE 3
The Red Storm took another early lead, and it appeared as if they were headed to a sweep. The Berg, however, would not go quietly.
Kaitlyn Moore relieved Drapp with two on and no outs in the fifth. Moore wriggled out of the jam with a fielder's choice sandwiched between a pair of strikeouts.
The momentum seemed to boost the Student Princes, playing on Frann's Field for the final time in 2019. Casey Moore drew a walk and moved to second on a single by Kat Brady. After a fielder's choice, Leber struck out -- but reached first on a wild pitch. The extra out proved costly. Hammond -- who has two base hits taken away earlier in the game by stellar defensive plays by the Red Storm -- stepped in with the bases full. She pulled a ball down the third base line that was only fair by a few inches. As the ball rolled into the corner, two runs scored.
Bolstered by the lead, Kaitlyn Moore retired the final six batters she faced.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
With both of their regularly-scheduled opponents off making up conference play, RIo and The Berg agreed to play.
Kaitlyn Moore's homer in game one was the second of the season, 14th of her career.
FOR THE OPPONENT:
Kenzie Cremeens had four hits on the day … Kelsey Conkey threw six shutout innings in the opener and had a pair of hits.
The Student Princes will wrap up conference action at Wilmington on Saturday.