March 8, 2013
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Brittany Gardner struck out 11 and Loyola University Chicago (7-6) pounded out 11 hits as the Ramblers rolled to a 7-1 victory over Villanova (6-6) this afternoon at the USF Under Armour Showcase. Lauren Zaworski drove in three runs and Hannah Jenkins recorded her first career three-hit outing to lead a potent offensive attack.
Loyola provided Gardner with all of the support she would need in a three-run third inning. Jenkins led off with a single and two outs later Jessica Balzano bunted for a hit. After Lauren Moore reached on a fielder's choice as Jenkins was quick to the bag on a play at third base, Zaworski laced a single to left field to score Jenkins, and Balzano and Moore scurried home when the ball slipped past the Villanova left fielder.
The Wildcats cut the Ramblers' lead to two runs on Beth Smetana's home run in the bottom of the fourth, but Loyola grabbed momentum right back in the top of the fifth when Zaworski ripped a ground rule double to left to score Balzano and Moore.
Loyola put the game away by scoring in each of its last two turns at the plate when Jenkins, who had led off the sixth inning with a double, would later score on a wild pitch, and in the seventh, Jenkins' single in the hole at short sent Keali Engelkens around to score as the Ramblers seized a 7-1 lead.
In addition to the impressive performances by Jenkins and Zaworski, Balzano and Moore also tallied two hits apiece for Loyola. Gardner struck out 11 and scattered six hits in the complete-game victory that improved her record to 3-3 this season. With her next win, Gardner will tie Krista Crosson for third on the Loyola career list with 36.
The Ramblers continue play at the USF Under Armour Showcase tomorrow when they square off against Western Michigan and Providence.