The Gustavus softball team fell to Bethel 4-2 in its opening game of the MIAC Tournament on Saturday, but then bounced back by defeating St. Olaf 5-2 and Bethel 8-0 in the consolation bracket and will face St. Thomas in an elimination game on Sunday morning. The Gusties will need to defeat the Tommies twice on Sunday to win the MIAC Playoff title.
The Gusties, who were seeded #2 in the tournament, got off to a slow start on Saturday falling to #3 seed Bethel 4-2. Lisa Klass hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning to tie the score at 1-1. The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second and the Gusties tied the score at 2-2 when Dani Cattrysse stroked a two-out single into center field scoring Andrea Brown. Bethel scored what turned out to be the winning run in the top of the fifth inning and then added an insurance run in the top of the sixth on its way to the 4-2 win. Emily Wendorff picked up two of the Gusties six hits. Callie Nelsen suffered the loss on the mound as she allowed four runs (two earned) in five and one-third innings of work. Betsie Collins pitched the final one and two-thirds innings for Gustavus.
Against St. Olaf, the Gusties took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Jenny Ewert scored on an Ole error. Gustavus broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Jenna Johnson drove in two runs with a double and then MacKenzie Dalton followed with a two-run home run. The Oles cut the lead to 5-2 thanks to a two-run home run by Ali Berens in the top of the sixth, but that is as close as St. Olaf would get and the Gusties would advance in the consolation bracket with the 5-2 win over the Oles. Betsie Collins picked up the win on the mound as she pitched all seven innings scattering six hits and allowing two runs, while striking out eight and walking three.
The Gusties got a second shot at Bethel after the Royals lost 9-2 to St. Thomas in the winner’s bracket game. Gustavus made the most of its second opportunity jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first two innings on its way to an 8-0 victory in five innings. The Gusties broke the game open with a four-run second inning thanks to a string of five singles by Andrea Brown, Jesse Pelzel, Lisa Klass, Jenny Ewert, and Emily Wendorff. Lisa Klass led the way with three hits in three at-bats. Wendorff was 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Pelzel was 2-for-2 with one RBI. Betsie Collins picked up the five-inning victory limiting the Royals to two hits, while striking out seven.
With the win over the Royals, the Gusties reached the 30-win plateau for the fifth consecutive season (30-12).
The MIAC Playoff Tournament will conclude on Sunday. The Gusties are scheduled to face St. Thomas at 11 am. The Tommies defeated St. Olaf 5-1 and Bethel 9-2 on Saturday. Should Gustavus defeat St. Thomas in the 11 am matchup, the two would meet in a second game at approximately, 1 pm. The winner of the 1 pm game would be the MIAC Playoff Champion.