The Gustavus softball team scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and defeated the University of Texas at Tyler 5-1 in the first game of the NCAA Division III World Series in Montclair, New Jersey on Friday morning. Emily Wendorff started the sixth inning rally with a single that drove in two runs and then Kirsten Prunty hit a two-run home run with two outs to close out the inning. Betsie Collins was the winning pitcher as she allowed only one run in six innings of work. Erin Truebenbach pitched the seventh inning in relief of Collins. The Gusties, who are now 40-7, will face the winner of the Ohio Northern/Messiah game on Saturday at 4 pm (EST).
The Gusties got off to a slow start in the game registering only one hit in the first four innings of the game, however the team stayed in the game with pitching and defense. UT-Tyler advanced a runner to second base in each of the first four innings. Gustavus came up with a big defensive play in the third inning when Kirsten Prunty fielded a single in left field and fired a relay to Rachael Click who threw out a Patriot runner at the plate on a nice tag by catcher Dani Cattrysse to end the inning.
Texas-Tyler took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning when Roo Richardson walked, was sacrificed to second base and then scored on a double by Whitney Wyly. The Patriots mounted another threat in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs before Betsie Collins got out of the jam by striking out UT-Tyler’s leadoff hitter Roo Richardson to end the inning.
In the Gusties big sixth inning, Emily Klein led off with a double to straight away center field. Klein broke for third on an infield ground ball by Jenny Ewert and Patriot shortstop Amanda Busby decided to try to tag Klein and missed. Ewert kept running and advanced to second. Rachael Click was hit by a pitch to load the bases and then Emily Wendorff singled to left field scoring Klein. The ball skipped past leftfielder Roo Richardson and Ewert scored from second base to give Gustavus a 2-1 lead. Andrea Brown hit a fly ball to right field that scored Click from third base. Jenna Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice when Emily Wendorff was thrown out at home. With two outs, Kirsten Prunty stepped to the plate and drove a 2-1 pitch over the left centerfield fence extending the Gustavus lead to 5-1.
Erin Truebenbach entered the game in relief of Betsie Collins on the mound to close out the game for Gustavus.
The Gusties only managed five hits in the game, but they bunched three of those hits together in the fifth inning and made the most of their limited offense. Emily Wendorff registered two of the Gusties’ five hits.
The win gave the Gusties their 40th win of the season, something that had not ever been done in the 41-year history of the program.