The Gustavus softball team saw its streak of five consecutive NCAA Tournament wins come to an end with a 2-0 loss to Messiah College on Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Division III World Series in Montclair, New Jersey. The Gusties will now try to fight their way back to the finals through the loser’s bracket starting with a game against Salisbury State of Maryland on Sunday, May 17 at 12:00 pm (EST). The Gusties were not able to muster much of any offense in the game against Messiah’s standout freshman pitcher Jessica Rhoads who allowed only two hits and struck out 11. Tufts scored twice in the first inning and that is all it would need to slip past Gustavus 2-0. Erin Truebenbach suffered the loss on the mound for the Gusties as she scattered seven hits and allowed two earned runs.
Gustavus was not ever able to find an answer for Messiah hurler Rhoads who allowed only two hits, both of which were recorded by Gustie senior shortstop Rachael Click. Click knocked a single to left field in the first inning and then looped another single just over the shortstop’s head in the seventh inning. Gustavus was not ever able to advance a runner past first base in the contest. The Gusties did manage to hit a couple balls hard to Messiah third baseman Lindsay Hall, but both times Hall came with a sterling defensive play to register an infield out.
Messiah got off to a quick start in the game as Abi Buchler singled to right field and then Rebekkah Funk put down a swinging bunt that dribbled down the first base line for a hit. Jaclyn Merkel laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Buchler to third and Funk to second and then pitcher Rhoads helped her own cause with a sharp single to right centerfield that drove in both runners and gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead.
Gustavus would not be able to get another runner on base until Click’s seventh inning single. Messiah picked up two hits in both the fourth and sixth innings, however Truebenbach kept the Jumbos from scoring in either inning.
Gustavus drops to to 40-8 on the season, while Messiah improves to 41-4.