The Gustavus softball team managed a split with #6 St. Thomas in St. Peter on Tuesday afternoon winning game one 3-1, and then losing game two 4-3. The Gusties maintained their one game lead over the Tommies in the league standings with a record of 17-1, while St. Thomas is now 16-2. As a result of picking up its 17th win, Gustavus became the first team in the MIAC to clinch a playoff spot.
In the first game, the Gusties took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Andrea Brown led off with a double and was driven in by Dani Cattrysse and then Lisa Klass doubled to drive in Cattrysse. The Tommies cut the lead to 2-1 on a very unusual play in the fourth inning. With two outs, Morgan Betker struck out swinging. The Gustavus team ran off the field thinking the inning was over, however Betker decided to run to first base and then second before the Gusties could get back out on the field. The infield official ruled that the strike out pitch had hit the dirt before being scooped up by catcher Dani Cattrysse and as a result was safe at second base. Colleen Owen then stepped up and singled to right field scoring Betker. The Gusties picked up an insurance run in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Lisa Klass hit a ground ball to shortstop Betker who attempted to turn a double play to end the inning, but Klass beat the throw to first allowing Amy Lynch to score from third base. Betsie Collins tossed a gem for Gustavus as she limited the potent Tommie offense to four hits, while striking out five and not issuing a walk. After starting the season with a 1-2 record, Collins has recorded eight straight victories to fashion a 9-2 mark with a 1.26 ERA.
In the second game, Gustavus took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Rachael Click drove in Emily Klein from third base with a sacrifice fly. The Tommies responded in a big way in the top of the third when Steph Moores hit a two-out, three-run home run giving the Tommies their first lead of the day at 3-1. Gustavus cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Rachael Click singled to open the inning and then scored on a double by Jenna Johnson. The Tommies scored what would turn out to be the game-winning run in the top of the fifth playing some “small ball”. Rachel Osdoba laid down a bunt single to open the inning and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kaitlyn Wightman. Missy Bruggeman than tapped a ball down the third base line and the Gusties committed a throwing error that allowed Osdoba to score from second base. Gustavus pulled to within one run at 4-3 when Emily Klein drilled a solo home run over the left field fence to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, however St. Thomas pitcher Marta Radcliffe retired the next three Gustavus batters in order to preserve the win for the Tommies. Christy Gries was the winning pitcher for St. Thomas, while Radcliffe was credited with the save. Erin Truebenbach was handed the loss for the Gusties. Truebenbach allowed seven hits and four earned runs, while walking three and striking out four in seven innings.
The loss halted the Gusties 19-game win streak that dated back to March 24. It is the second longest win-streak in the program’s history.
Gustavus will travel to Moorhead on Wednesday to face Concordia in a doubleheader that begins at 4 pm. The Gusties will wrap up league play with a doubleheader against St. Kate’s on Saturday at Gustavus at 1 pm.