GREELEY — No. 3 Eaton softball’s Jennifer Jarnigan found herself in run-scoring situations twice against No. 5 University. The freshman delivered twice out of the three hole in a 6-1 win for the Reds on Tuesday.
“She’s responding under pressure,” Eaton coach Dale Hughes said. “She lets things just kind of roll off her back. She missed a sign earlier in the game, and she just gets over it. She goes up there and focuses. Yeah, she’s been a great spark plug all year for us.
“Her and Remi (Ross). How they go, we go.”
Jarnigan knocked a single up the middle to score Celsi Jurgensmeier from second to put the Reds on the board.
“She’s on base, she’s there for me,” Jarnigan said on what was going through her mind. “I have to do my job because she did her job.”
Then, after Remi Ross stole second and third base, Jarnigan had an RBI groundout to push the Eaton lead to 2-0.
“If we wouldn’t have scored, we would have been even lower in our energy level,” Jarnigan said. “It was really big scoring those two runs.”
Eaton extended its lead to 4-0 as Ross had an RBI triple in the top of the fifth, then Jurgensmeier scored her with a sacrifice fly.
“We talked about energy,” Hughes said. “Our energy, I didn’t think was really there those first three innings. Their pitcher kept us off balance. She changes speeds and we have a hard time staying back.”
Keylee Kern cut that lead to 4-1 with a hard-hit line drive up the middle to score Kyra McFarland, but Eaton came right back as Melanie Fye pulled a double down the line to score Lauren Frink.
Tristin Brandly added another RBI double out of the nine hole to extend the lead to 6-1.
“That’s why I put her (batting ninth),” Hughes said. “She just produces down there and keeps things going.”
University had two baserunning errors in the first inning that saw the Bulldogs come away with no runs.
After leading the inning off with a leadoff triple, McFarland got caught in a rundown trying to score and was tagged out. University recovered and had runners on first and third.
“I think maybe they were too amped early in the game,” Hughes said. “They wanted to make things happen and got themselves into trouble with a couple baserunning mistakes there.”
With Kern stealing second, Daphne Halverson tried to score from third on the throw. Eaton cut off the throw and got Halverson at the plate.
“That definitely was a good momentum shift right there in the beginning of the game,” Hughes said. “We had a first and third play that worked out. Sometimes you call first and third plays and they hardly ever even work. That one worked out just well.”
And again, University spoiled a chance to get back in the game.
With runners on second and third, Taylor Frank flew out to right field to end the third inning.
Frink went seven innings for Eaton. She allowed one earned run.
“I didn’t think she had good command of her pitches,” Hughes said. “Her drop ball didn’t always drop. She missed a couple locations, but she’s a grinder. I’m standing here saying she didn’t pitch that good of a game, but she only allowed one run. She’s a grinder.”
University’s Janet Frederick went 2-for-2 with two singles, a walk and two stolen bases.
“(The win) is going to keep motivating us to keep winning and keep going further,” Jarnigan said. “Keep pushing ourselves to our limit.”