The Gustavus Adolphus College softball team will play Saint Mary’s on Friday in the first round of the MIAC Tournament. Second-seeded Saint Mary’s and third-seeded Gustavus begin at 3 p.m. at Hamline in the round-robin format.
The Gusties enter the league playoffs with a 26-14 overall record and an 18-4 mark in the MIAC. During the conference regular season, Gustavus lost once to Saint Thomas, twice to Saint Mary’s and once to Hamline. Since starting the season 4-10, the Gusties have won 22 of their final 26 games. Coach Shanda Ness’ squad is lead offensively by Julie Mahre with a .429 batting average, a .580 slugging percentage, and 51 hits. Gustavus has three other players batting at .300 or above including 2004 MIAC Player of the Year Audrey Lenoch (.317), Tina Strauss (.348). and Dawn Lewis (.300). Joyce DeWitz leads the Gusties on the mound with a 19-9 overall record, including a perfect game, a game with 20 strikeouts, and a two-hit shutout performance. DeWitz leads the team with a 1.31 earned run average in 176.1 innings pitched. She has also thrown 17 complete games while striking out 182 and walking only 67.
Saint Mary’s enters the MIAC Tournament with an overall record of 32-8 and a conference mark of 19-3, including 22 wins in its final 24 games. Jenni Gutterman leads the Cardinals offensively with a .391 batting average, a .486 slugging percentage, and 54 hits. Saint Mary’s has six others players who have above a .300 batting average, including Tara Close (.371), Nikki Jung (.348), Jenny Schipp (.314), Mandy Tschernach (.308), Melissa Mondo (.303), and Amy Edge (.302). The Cardinals boast a higher team batting average than their opponents (.307 compared to .215). Jenny Schipp leads Saint Mary’s with an overall record of 20-4 from the mound while maintaining a 1.72 earned run average. She has also thrown 12 complete games while striking out 158 and walking only 44.
Gustavus trails Saint Mary’s in the all-time series with a record of 21-28. The Cardinals swept the Gusties in the regular season this year winning 5-3 and 9-1 in St. Peter.
Bethel and Hamline will host the MIAC Tournament this season. In the first game, top seeded Saint Thomas will play fourth-seeded Hamline. The winner of games one and two will play Friday at 5 p.m. at Bethel, while the losers of games one and two will play at Hamline. Each team will finish the tournament on Saturday with all games being held at Bethel College starting at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. A 4 p.m. game will be played if necessary.