Feb. 22, 2013
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Brittany Gardner picked up where she left off last season by throwing a one-hitter and Lauren Moore belted a three-run home run in the first inning to lead Loyola University Chicago (1-0) to a 7-0 victory over Rhode Island (0-2) this afternoon at the Kickin' Chicken Classic. With the win, the Ramblers pick up their first season-opening victory since 2009.
After Gardner made quick work of the Rams in the top of the first, Loyola got up all of the offense it would need in its half of the inning. Brooke Andresen and Jessica Balzano coaxed back-to-back walks to lead off the frame before Moore clubbed a three-run shot to put the Ramblers on top for good.
Andresen, who inched closer to Loyola's all-time hits record (177) with three hits against URI, gave the Ramblers an insurance run in the fourth inning when her RBI single brought home Olivia Bell, who had reached on a two-out error.
The Ramblers would add two more runs for good measure in the bottom of the fifth thanks to Lauren Zaworski's pinch-hit, run-scoring single, and Shaffer's sacrifice fly.
Gardner was sensational and did not allow a hit until Lauren Klepchick's two-out single through the right side of the infield in the top of the sixth inning. That would be the only hit off the reigning Horizon League Pitcher of the Year, who finished the game with six strikeouts. The lefthander, who tossed a pair of no-hitters last spring, now has two one-hitters to her credit in her Loyola career.
Andresen and Moore finished with three hits apiece and Shaffer knocked home a pair of runs for Loyola, which pounded out 10 hits off two Rams pitchers. Andresen raised her career total to 169 hits, putting her eight behind Loyola's career leader, Ellen Antonacci (177).
The Ramblers' scheduled contest versus Coastal Carolina tonight was postponed due to rain.
Loyola continues play at the Kickin' Chicken Classic Saturday when it faces Coastal Carolina at 3 p.m. Eastern, followed by Rhode Island at 5 p.m. Eastern.