Solid pitching and timely hitting helped the Gustavus softball team keep pace in the MIAC standings by sweeping Concordia 7-0 and 3-0 on Wednesday in St. Peter. Callie Nelsen, Betsie Collins, and Erin Truebenbach combined to strikeout 26 Cobber hitters in the doubleheader, while a three-run home run from Julie Mahre was a highlight in game one.
The Gusties got an early 1-0 lead when Rachael Click hit an RBI double that scored Andrea Brown, who hit a double in the previous at-bat, in the first inning. In the third inning, Emily Klein delivered a RBI-single with the bases loaded to extend Gustavus’ margin to 2-0. However, the Gusties were unable to capitalize any further as the next two batters lined and grounded out to Cobber third baseman Maddie Haroldson.
It was not until the fourth inning that Gustavus broke the game wide open with four runs. Amy Lynch, who was pinch running for Leigh Weber, scored the first run of the inning as a result of a Concordia defensive miscue after a hit from Dani Cattrysse. Cobber pitcher Erin Johnson hit the next Gustavus batter, Paige Hays, which proved to be costly as Mahre followed with her three-run home run. The Gusties scored again in the next inning when Jessie Pelzel singled in Emily Wendorff.
Concordia’s best scoring opportunity came when Emily Jensen hit a one-out triple in the sixth inning, but the Cobbers left Jensen stranded. Callie Nelsen, who picked up her 10th win of the season, and Betsie Collins combined to strike out 12 Concordia hitters, and never allowed more than one runner on base during the contest.
Erin Truebenbach set the tone immediately in game two as she struck out the Concordia side in the first inning. Gustavus’ first scoring threat came in the second inning with runners on second and third with zero outs. However, the Gusties could not advance the runners as Concordia turned a double play and got a ground ball to get out of the inning.
Amanda Michaelson recorded the lone hit for the Cobbers in the fourth inning when she hit a two-out double. Truebenbach responded by striking out Haroldson to end the threat. Jenna Johnson sparked the Gustavus offense in the fifth inning with a lead-off double, which led to a run scored by pinch runner Paige Hays. Coach Jeff Annis’ squad manufactured the other two runs of the frame through a sacrifice fly and stolen bases as Mackenzie Weber and Julie Mahre would come around to score.
Three runs was all Erin Truebenbach would need as she recorded the second highest single-game strikeout performance ever by a Gustavus pitcher with 14 strikeouts. This was the highest total since Joyce DeWitz struck out 20 Concordia batters on April 9, 2005. Truebenbach improved her record to 6-1 with the victory.
Gustavus, which currently sits in second place in the MIAC standings, improved to 24-6 overall and 14-4 in league play. Concordia fell to 7-25 overall and 4-14 in conference competition. The Gusties will host eighth-ranked Wartburg on Thursday at 3 p.m. in St. Peter.