Mankato, Minn. – Through the frigid temperatures and freezing rain, and despite the fact that the Gustavus softball team had won just one game over its past eight leading up to the MIAC Playoffs, the Gusties prevailed and with a pair of victories on Friday at Caswell Park.
To begin the afternoon in Pool D, No. 9 seed Carleton upset No. 4 seed Saint Mary’s 11-2. No. 5 seed Gustavus then came from behind to defeat Carleton 7-6 in game two. With destiny in their own hands, the Gusties closed the day with an 8-4 win over Saint Mary’s, allowing them a trip to Saturday’s four-team double elimination bracket.
In the opening round of Saturday’s bracket back at Caswell Park, Gustavus will face No. 1 seed St. Thomas, while No. 3 seed St. Olaf will battle No. 2 seed Bethel. Both games will begin at 3:00 p.m. At 5:00 p.m., the winner of game one and the winner of game two will square off, while the loser of game one will take on the loser of game two.
Gustavus vs. Carleton Recap
The Gusties didn’t waste any time putting runs on the scoreboard against Carleton in their opening bout of the day. Kate Rentschler (Sr., Lakefield, Minn.) and Carly Klass (So., Richfield, Minn.) both drove in a run to put Gustavus on top 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning.
Carleton answered with three runs in the top of the third inning to grab a 3-2 edge. Kelsey Parsons brought in both Katrina Harper and Jenny Ramey with a single to left field, and Keelin Davis added a one-run single to plate Parsons later in the innings.
The Knights extended their lead to 4-2 with another run in the top of the fifth inning when Davis plated Harper with a ground ball to third base.
Gustavus got the run back in the bottom of the inning to bring the score to 4-3. Although the Gusties led off the inning with three straight singles, it was Rentschler driving in the only run of the frame with a ground ball to second base.
After Carleton scored in the top of the sixth inning to go up 5-3, Gustavus broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Brittany Brenke (Jr., Le Sueur, Minn.) started off the rally with double to center field. Her run would later come across on a Kailey Morgan (So., Mound, Minn.) grounder to first. Gustavus tied the game at 5-5 on another Carleton error, and Klass followed up with a two-run single to plate both Sarah Rozell (So., Lakeville, Minn.) and Rentschler, giving Gustavus a 7-5 lead.
The Knights would put together a small rally in the seventh, scoring a run a two hits to bring the game to a final at 7-6.
Rentschler turned in a monster game at the plate to lead the Gusties. The senior went 3-for-3 with a walk, two doubles, and two runs. Carly Klass was next in line, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. Both Sarah Rozell and Brittany Brenke had two hits. Rozell was 2-for-4 with two runs an a RBI, while Brenke was 2-for-3 with two doubles.
Rozell earned the complete-game victory on the rubber after allowing six runs (two earned) on 12 hits. She improved to 7-6 on the year with the win. Carleton’s Keelin Davis suffered the loss after giving up seven runs (four earned) on 12 hits in six innings.
Gustavus vs. Saint Mary’s Recap
Late runs made the difference in the Friday’s nightcap, as Gustavus opened up a 1-0 lead with two runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth. In the first inning it was Sarah Rozell diving in Brittany Brenke with a single to give the Black and Gold of 1-0 edge.
Starting in back-to-back games, Rozell got outs early. She allowed just two hits in the opening four innings of the game.
In the top of the fifth, Christina Riester (Sr., Wabasha, Minn.) singled down the left field line to bring home Alison Eder-Zdechlik (Fy., Stillwater, Minn.), and Kate Rentschler singled to right to score Reister.
After Saint Mary’s cut the lead to 3-1 with a run in the bottom of the fifth, Gustavus put four runs on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth to extend its lead to 7-1. Gustavus took advantage of a Kat Dahl (Jr., Luverne, Minn.) one-run single, two Saint Mary’s errors, and two passed balls that resulted in runs all within the inning.
Dahl doubled to center field in the top of the seventh inning, scoring Paige Breneman (So., Sherburn, Minn.) and giving Gustavus an 8-1 lead.
Saint Mary’s got a rally going in the bottom of the seventh, yet couldn’t muster the remaining four runs and the game ended in an 8-4 final.
Rozell’s second consecutive complete-game victory improved her record to 8-6. She gave up four runs (three unearned) on 10 hits while striking out seven Cardinal batters. Saint Mary’s Kayla Peterson took the loss after allowing six runs (two earned) on nine hits.
Dahl and Rentschler led the Gusties at the plate, going a combined 7-for-8. Dahl was 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, one run, two RBI, while Rentschler was 3-for-4 with a RBI.