CEDAR RAPIDS - In its 2014 ICCAC opener, the Iowa Central softball team managed a split against No. 7 (NJCAA Div. II) Kirkwood on Saturday afternoon.
After snapping the Eagles' 33-game league winning streak with a 4-1 victory in their opener, the Tritons (19-6 overall, 1-1 in the ICCAC) dropped an 11-6 decision in the nightcap.
Fort Dodge graduate Haley Rustvold, Sammie Hildreth and Nicole Dobernecker each contributed a pair of hits in Game 1 for Iowa Central. Hildreth actually doubled, homered and scored twice.
Going the distance in the circle was former North Union prep Allie Ingalls, who scattered just four hits, one earned run, six walks and six strikeouts.
"We played probably the best we have all year in Game 1," said ICCC head coach Josh Sandin. "It's always a good battle with (Kirkwood). It was nice to show we're back and mean business, especially after having such a poor conference record last year. We weren't intimidated, and we just kind of walked in with swagger."
Despite jumping out to an early 5-0 lead in the second contest, the Tritons were unable to hold on.
Iowa Central 4,
Iowa Central 021 000 1-4 10 0
Kirkwood 000 010 0-1 4 1
Allie Ingalls (WP); Sam Belz (LP). 2B-ICCC: Taylor Barnett, Sammie Hildreth, Haley Rustvold. HR-ICCC: Hildreth; K: Alicia Crivaro.
Iowa Central 6
Iowa Central 500 010 0- 6 9 2
Kirkwood 400 205 x-11 11 0
Carmen Rivera (L); Shynne Saladino (WP). 2B-ICCC: Rustvold, K: Chasney Jenkins, Jenna Schulte, Erin Weno (2), Crivaro, Lexi Qyandt. 3B-ICCC: Emilee Dorpinghaus. HR-ICCC: Rustvold, Dobernecker; K: Schulte.
Emilee Dorpinghaus, Dobernecker and Rustvold all tallied two hits. Dobernecker belted her ninth longball of the season, while Rustvold also went deep. Both Dobernecker and Rustvold scored twice.
Starting pitcher Carmen Rivera took the loss. Seven of the 11 hits by Kirkwood (24-5, 7-1) went for extra bases, including six doubles.
"Game 2 was an offensive battle," Sandin said. "A couple of 50-50 plays didn't go our way, but to go to Cedar Rapids and get a split was huge."
Iowa Central returns to action this afternoon, hosting Marshalltown (13-8, 4-2) in a conference doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.