The Gustavus softball team claimed an important sweep against the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. on Tuesday afternoon. The Gusties won game one 4-0 and game two 5-2. Gustavus finishes MIAC regular season play with a record of 19-3 and earns the #2 seed in this weekend’s MIAC Tournament after winning a tiebreaker with Saint Mary’s. The Gusties will wrap up their regular season with a doubleheader against Bethany College in Mankato on Wednesday afternoon.
In game one, Gustavus would get the only run it would need on the second pitch of the game as sophomore second baseman Julie Mahre (White Bear Lake, Minn.) stroked a leadoff home run to give the Gusties a 1-0 lead. Mahre would strike again in the fifth inning as she would hit her second home run of the game, this time with left fielder Dawn Lewis (Minnetonka, Minn.) on base, giving Gustavus a 3-0 lead. The Gusties added another run in the top of the seventh when Lewis drove in right fielder Emily Klein (Red Wing, Minn.) from third base with a single. Junior pitcher Joyce DeWitz (Good Thunder, Minn.) was dominating on the mound as she limited the Blazers to one hit, while striking out four and not walking a batter. Julie Mahre sparked the Gusties with two hits in three at-bats (both home runs) and three rbi. Dawn Lewis picked up two hits, and Audrey Lenoch (Sr., Pine Island, Minn.) extended her hitting streak to 11 games with a double in the fourth inning.
In game two, Gustavus took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Audrey Lenoch opened with a triple and then scored when Emily Klein grounded out to second base. Saint Ben’s tied the score at 1-1 when Patty Devoy homered to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning. The game remained tied until the top of the sixth inning when Gustavus scored four times to take a 5-1 lead. The Gusties loaded the bases with one out and then Emily Klein stroked a double to center field allowing Julie Mahre and Mary Furlong (Sr., Mound, Minn.) to score. Two batters later, designated player Bree Lindenberg (Fy., Faribault, Minn.) smacked a two-out single to left field driving in Lenoch and Klein. The Blazers would cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh when Jenna Tody homered to centerfield, however the Gusties held on for the win. DeWitz picked up the win on the mound again for Gustavus as she allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings of work. She also struck out five and walked two. The Gusties were only able to scratch out five hits in the game, but most of them came with runners in scoring position. Audrey Lenoch, who extended her hitting streak to 12 games went 2-for-2 with 2 runs scored.
Gustavus tied a school record for wins in a season with 27. The Gusties have reached 27 wins twice before (2003 and 2005). The team can break the record with one win against Bethany Lutheran tomorrow.
With the doubleheader sweep, the Gusties guaranteed themselves of a second place tie with Saint Mary’s with a record of 19-3 in league play. The team also earned the second seed in the MIAC Tournament by virtue of winning a tiebreaker with the Cardinals. The tiebreaker involved Gustavus having a better record against teams with a .500 record or better in league play. The Gusties were 6-2 against St. Thomas, St. Mary’s, St. Kate’s, and St. Ben’s, while St. Mary’s was 5-3 against St. Thomas, St. Kate’s, St. Ben’s, and Gustavus.
Gustavus will close out its regular season schedule with a double-header at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato on Wednesday. The team will then open MIAC Tournament play on Friday with a 3 pm game against St. Mary’s at Carleton. The double-elimination tournament will take place on Friday and Saturday in Northfield on the campuses of St. Olaf and Carleton.