April 20, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

INA - The John A. Logan College softball team belted six home runs Tuesday, including three in the second game of a doubleheader as the Volunteers romped past Rend Lake, 13-5, in five innings.

The host Warriors rallied to win the opener, 11-6.

"We really hit the ball well today," said Vols first-year head coach Angie Jilek. "Not only did we have the six home runs, but we had another that was called foul that was questionable and yet another caught at the fence in center that was going out."

The Vols jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2 when Jordyn Smith walked and Kiley Pelker stroked a two-run shot. 

Rend Lake countered with a five spot of its own in the bottom of the first highlighted by a grand slam home run off the bat of Jordan Lodge. Maddie Jones drove in Jessica Prange with a single to right for the fifth run.

Logan bounced back to take a 7-5 lead in the third. Lauren Talton singled home two runs and Brooke Arnold clubbed a three-run homer.

The Vols tacked on two more runs in the fourth. Smith and Pelker singled. One out later, Talton was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Katrina Whitley was also hit by a pitch, forcing in a run. 

Megan Hampton then delivered an RBI single.

Logan would blow the game wide open in the fifth. 

With one out, Smith singled. With two outs, Kelsey Rogers singled. Talton doubled home one run and Whitley three more when she slammed one off the foul pole in left.

Freshman pitcher Grace Vaughn earned the win, her second of the spring. After the shaky start, she hurled four scoreless innings. 

"I'm proud of her. She continues to improve," Jilek said. "I thought she was aggressive with her fastball and her change up was an effective out pitch."

In Game 1, the Vols took a quick 3-0 lead in the first as Smith singled, Pelker homered, and Rogers homered.

The lead grew to 4-0 in the third as Hampton's sacrifice fly scored Talton, who had singled.

The Warriors, however, refused to wilt. They picked up two runs in the bottom of the third as Jordyn Wieland doubled home a pair with two outs.

Logan improved its lead to 5-2 in the fifth when Rogers went yard for the second time.

In the bottom of the fifth, Vols' starting pitcher Nicole Short was unable to pitch around an error and surrendered a grand slam to Lodge (she had two on the day). That gave Rend Lake a 6-5 lead.

One inning later, the Warriors took command with five additional runs to make the score 11-5.

Breya Cooper drove in two and Lodge corked her second dinger of the game, a two-run shot. Wieland added an RBI single.

Logan added a single run in the seventh to account for the final margin.

"Considering all the players we have out with injuries, getting a split today against a very good team in Rend Lake is not all that bad," said Talton, a freshman from Huntsville, Ala. 

"We maintained our position (fourth out of 10 teams) in the conference standings. Our goal is to place in the top four, so we can host the first round of the regional."

Since being placed in the every-day lineup, Talton has been on fire at the plate.

"I'm just seeing the ball very well right now," she said. "When I see a pitch up in the zone, I try to drive it hard somewhere. I appreciate the coaches giving me a chance to show what I can do."

With the split, Logan moves to 19-11 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference and to 29-15 overall. 

Weather permitting, the Vols will play host to league-leading Wabash Valley on Thursday and then travel to Fairfield on Friday to take on Frontier College.