It was an early-morning rise for the Fontbonne softball team on Sunday as the Griffins made a day trip to Louisville to take on conference foe Spalding University. But the trip didn't seem to affect senior Madi Leonard who threw her first career no-hitter in game one for her ninth win of the season. The righty took no time to celebrate, as she focused during the break to start game two of the conference doubleheader. Leonard earned both wins as the Griffins improve to 12-9 overall and 6-0 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
Leonard totaled a career-high 15 strikeouts on 21 batters to earn her first seven-inning no-hitter, beating her previous high of 14 strikeouts from earlier this season. Last season Leonard came close to a no-hitter, also against Spalding in their first conference matchup of the year, where she threw eight strikeouts over seven.
"Obviously, today was a great day for Madi in the circle and for WE*," comments head coach Bill Rosner. "Madi pitches for the team behind her and the name on the front of her jersey every time she takes the circle and that's probably the most impressive thing about her."
"Madi has been working at throwing first-pitch strikes all season and today she was at her best, throwing ahead in the count for all but five hitters during the first game. Her pace was incredible, throwing in the low 60's."
Fontbonne recorded 11 hits including three home runs, three stolen bases and a double. Sam Brown broke open the game with a leadoff home run to center field. That's the second time this season the Griffins have led off with a homer.
Spalding's only base runners were in the first inning on a hit-by-pitch and in the fourth on a walk as the Griffin defense backed up their star pitcher with zero defensive errors. Leonard helped herself earn the gem, assisting on a Golden Eagle bunt in the fifth inning. She struck out the side in the third, striking out seven consecutive Golden Eagles across the second, third and fourth innings.
Fontbonne bats were quiet in the second inning but Maddie Cooksey led the third with a double that Emelia Modglin backed up with a home run to center. After Spalding earned two flyouts, Melanie Russo hit a solo shot to center as well.
The Griffins garnered their final run in the fifth as Emily Smith singled and went to second on a wild pitch before fellow senior Lindsay Schaefer drove her home on a hit up the middle.
Leonard started the second game in Louisville as well, adding six more strikeouts on the day, this time allowing five hits and two hit-by-pitches in six innings. Michelle Boyer entered in relief and struck out the first two batters she faced followed by a groundout to close the win.
After leading off with two outs, Fontbonne earned two runs as Modglin singled and was scored from a double by Smith. Smith crossed home on another single by Schaefer up the middle. Fontbonne led 2-0 until Spalding tied things up in the third.
In the fourth, Russo walked and Courtney Kedroski sent pinch runner Emily McNiff to second on a single. Freshman Alleigh Kruse came up to the plate and sent the winning run home on a hit through the left side. Sarah Kitchen walked to load the bases when Cooksey stepped to the plate. The outfielder recorded her first collegiate grand slam to lift the Griffins to a 7-2 victory and keep the Golden Eagles at bay.
Fontbonne tallied nine hits for 20 on the day. Modglin went three-of-four in the latter contest while the Griffin defense recorded two double plays. Brown, Cooksey, Modglin and Russo each have three home runs on the year. Leonard recorded 21 strikeouts over 13 innings on the day. She now has 636 strikeouts in her career.
STORY COURTESY OF FONTBONNE UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION OFFICE