Propelled by an eight-run third inning, the Loyola softball team (20-14, 4-8) completed a three-game sweep of Indiana State University with a 14-8 win at Loyola Softball Park Sunday afternoon.
In the win, the Ramblers were led by first-year shortstop Madison Ebeling, who went 4-for-4 at the plate and picked up a pair of RBIs. First-year third basemen Nova Sinskul was also key to the victory as she picked up a pair of extra-base hits, including a third-inning two-run home run that gave the Ramblers a 5-3 lead.
“It’s always big to pick up any conference win,” Loyola head coach Jeff Tylka said after the game. “[It] doesn’t matter who it’s against. As long as you can put a tally in the win mark, it’s gonna be a good thing.”
The Ramblers came out of the gate fast with a three run first-inning as Ebeling scored junior outfielder Jessica Shields to make the score 1-0 before sophomore first baseman Allyson Ivey brought in two more with a single of her own.
The offensive dominance would continue all game for the Ramblers, as they smacked eight extra-base hits and every starter in the lineup picked up at least one hit over the course of the game.
“I think the difference today is our team was aggressive,” Tylka said. “In softball, at times, you can get in your own head so to see our girls making aggressive swings was a great thing to see.”
On the mound to start the day for the Ramblers was senior Kiley Jones. Over three innings of work, Jones kept the Sycamores at bay by only conceding three runs. She was lifted in the fourth inning for first-year Sydney Ruggles with an 11-3 lead intact.
Ruggles struggled in the circle, allowing four earned runs on five hits over 1.2 innings of work. With the Sycamores closing the score to 11-8 in the fifth, Tylka once again turned to his bullpen as he brought in senior Keenan Dolezal.
Aided by three late insurance runs via a two-run Ivey home run and a Sycamores throwing error, Dolezal was able to shut the door on Indiana State over 2.1 scoreless frames and secure the three-game sweep for the Ramblers.
“It’s our job as hitters to back [the pitchers] up and do our job and I think that’s what we did,” Ivey said. “Even when they gave up runs, they believed in us and we believed in them, so that’s all you can ask for.”
The Ramblers’ season is slated to continue April 10 against Valparaiso University at Loyola Softball Park. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.