The Gustavus softball team reached one of its primary goals for the season by winning the 2009 MIAC Title with two wins over the College of St. Catherine by the scores of 14-3, and 5-1 on Saturday afternoon in St. Peter. The Gusties completed regular season league play with a 21-1 record and earned the #1 seed in the MIAC Tournament, which will be played next Friday and Saturday in Winona, Minn.
The Gusties, who are rated #21 in the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll and #5 in the most recent NCAA Midwest Region poll, also tied the school record for victories in a season with 32, which was set in 2007.
In game one, the Gusties took control early scoring three runs in the first inning and four more in the second to take a 7-1 lead. The Gusties, who were leading 8-3 after five innings, broke the game open with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Gustavus pounded out 10 hits in the game and seven of the 10 were extra-base hits including four doubles, two triples, and a home run. Emily Klein, Andrea Brown, and Lisa Klass each registered two hits in the game. Both of Klein’s hits were triples. Callie Nelsen was the winning pitcher for Gustavus as she allowed three hits and three runs in five innings. None of the runs were earned. She did not walk a batter, while striking out six. Nelsen runs her record to 11-0 on the season with a 1.20 earned run average.
In game two, the Gusties left runners on base in five of the seven innings (eight in all), but still managed to claim a 5-1 win over the Wildcats. The Gusties scored three times in the third inning to increase their lead to 4-0. Rachael Click hit a solo home run in the inning and Kirsten Prunty stroked a one-out single that scored Amy Lynch and Andrea Brown. Click drove in the final Gustavus run with a single in the fourth inning to increase the Gustie lead 5-0. St. Kate’s scored its lone run in the top of the fifth inning. Rachael Click went 4-for-4 at the plate. She hit two home runs on the day pushing her season total to 12, which is a new school record breaking the old mark of 11 set by Julie Mahre in 2007. Click also increased her career total to 31 and she is now only the third player in MIAC history to compile 30 career home runs. Erin Truebenbach was the winning pitcher for Gustavus. She allowed one run (which was not an earned run), while limiting the Wildcats to two hits. Truebenbach improved to 11-1 on the season.
The Gusties will wrap up their season with a doubleheader on Monday against the College of St. Scholastica. The games, which were originally scheduled to be played on April 5 in St. Peter, will now be played at the Jane Sage Cowles Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. Game time is 5:30 pm.
Gustavus will begin MIAC Tournament play on Friday. The Gusties, who are the #1 seed, will face Bethel, the #4 seed, at 3:00 pm at the Saint Mary’s University Field. The winner of the MIAC Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.