The Gustavus softball team opened the MIAC Tournament with a 5-1 win over Bethel, but then lost to St. Thomas 4-1 in its second game of the day. The Gusties will now play Hamline in an elimination game on Saturday morning at 11 am. Erin Truebenbach was the winning pitcher in game one, Kirsten Prunty’s two-run home run sparked the Gusties against the Royals. Rachael Click hit a home run for Gustavus’ lone against St. Thomas.
In game one, Emily Klein (Red Wing, Minn.) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Kirsten Prunty (New Ulm, Minn.) was 1-for-2 with two RBI and Emily Wendorff (Prior Lake, Minn.) added a hit in two at-bats and drove in one run for the Gusties. Erin Truebenbach (Mankato, Minn.) limited the Royals to just three hits — one in the second when Bethel scored its lone run, one in the fifth and one in the seventh — while striking out 10 and walking just one.
The Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Lynnae Thompson led off was a single. Pinch-runner Chelsea Kopca (Andover, Minn.) moved to second and third on back-to-back wild pitches, and scored on an RBI groundout by Ashley Johnson (Maple Grove, Minn.).
Gustavus took the lead for good with the first of its two, two-run innings in the third, scoring once on a Bethel error, while plating the other on an RBI double by Jenna Johnson (Shoreview, Minn.). The Gusties padded their lead to 4-1 on a two-run home run from Prunty, then rounded out the scoring with a single run in the sixth.
In game two, the Tommies used a couple of walks, a bunt, an infield single, and a hit-by-pitch to score two runs in the top of the first inning. Gustavus cut the lead to 2-1 on a home run by Rachael Click in the fourth inning, but that is as close as the Gusties would get as St. Thomas scored once in the fifth and once in the seventh to claim the 4-1 win. Gustavus managed only three hits in the game including two by Lisa Klass. Betsie Collins suffered the loss on the mound. She allowed three runs on six hits and struck out six in six innings of work. Callie Nelsen pitched the seventh inning for the Gusties.
Coach Jeff Annis and his squad will need to get past Hamline in the morning and then beat St.Thomas twice tomorrow if they hope to win the tournament title and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
All of the Gusties games on Saturday can be heard on KNUJ Radio (860 AM) or over the internet through the MIAC Tournament website. Live stats are also available through the tournament web site.