Tucson, Ariz. – The Gustavus softball team recently returned from a five-day, eight-game trip to Arizona, where the Gusties registered a 3-5 record. The trip began on Thursday, March 20th with a 4-1 win over Pomona-Pitzer and concluded five days later with a 16-5 loss to George Fox on Monday, March 24th. With the three wins and five losses, Gustavus moves to 5-7 on the season and will open conference play against Saint Mary’s on Saturday in St. Peter.
Game 1 – Gustavus 4, Pomona-Pitzer 1
Gustavus opened its Spring Training trip with a 4-1 win over Pomona-Pitzer on Thursday, March 20th. The Gusties scored one run in the bottom of the second inning and two more in the bottom of the third to take the early 3-0 lead. Gustavus tacked on one more run in the bottom of the sixth to extend its advantage to four runs before the Sagehens broke up the shutout in the top of the seventh for a final score of 4-1.
Shelby Nosan (Jr., Baudette, Minn.) and Kaitlyn Bicek (So., Northfield, Minn.) each went 2 for 4 and scored a run in the win, while Jessica Williams (So., Plymouth, Minn.) registered the win in the circle after pitching two scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth.
Game 2 – Gustavus 5, UW-Eau Claire 6 (9 innings)
The second game for the Gusties on Thursday came later that afternoon against UW-Eau Claire. It took nine innings, but the Blugolds eventually emerged with a 6-5 victory.
After UW-Eau Claire took a 2-1 lead after the first inning, Gustavus came back to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the second before the Blugolds tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. The two teams remained tied through the remainder of regulation.
In the eighth, the Gusties scored a run in the top of the inning to put the pressure on the Blugolds, who did not record a hit in the frame. Instead, a Gustavus error allowed the tying run to score and send the game into the ninth, where the Gusties tacked one more run on the board. Trailing 5-4, the Blugolds again had the answer, this time with two runs on another Gustavus error that gave UW-Eau Claire the 6-5 win.
Game 3 – Gustavus 4, Denison 7
Friday brought two more games for the Gustie women, the first of which pitted them against Denison University. In that game, Gustavus put two runs on the board in the top of the first, but the Big Red scored two in the bottom and four more over the next two innings to take a 6-4 lead through three.
From there, Denison would tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to capture the 7-4 win. Nosan led the way again for the Gusties at the dish with a perfect 4 for 4 day and scored two runs. Kailey Morgan (Jr., Mound, Minn.) went 2 for 4 with three runs batted in (RBI).
Game 4 – Gustavus 4, UW-La Crosse 1
Friday’s second game featured a match up with UW-La Crosse, which the Gusties won 4-1. Gustavus scored two runs out of the gate in the bottom of the first inning to take the early lead. UW-La Crosse answered with a run in the top of the third, but it was all the Eagles could manage, as the Gusties scored a run in both the bottom of the fifth and sixth to capture the win.
Nosan continued her hot day from the plate with another 4 for 4 performance against UW-La Crosse. The junior doubled and homered in the contest, scoring two runs and recording a pair of RBI. In the circle, Sarah Rozell (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) went all seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out three on the way to her third win of the season.
Game 5 – Gustavus 3, Central 2
Gustavus opened Saturday with a 3-2 win over fourth-ranked Central (Iowa). The Gusties took an early 3-0 lead in the first two innings, scoring one run in the first and two in the second before Central answered with a run in the top of the third. Although the Gusties could not provide any more run support, the defense held strong, allowing only one run in the top of the seventh to hang on for the 3-2 win.
First-year pitcher Hannah Heacox (Stillwater, Minn.) was on point for a full seven innings, scattering eight hits and allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, to go along with just one walk. Gustavus recorded just three hits in the game.
Game 6 – Gustavus 1, Chapman 2
The hitting woes continued in Saturday’s second game, as Gustavus registered just four hits against Chapman. However, the defense was strong again against the Panthers. After the Gusties scored a run in the top of the first inning, Chapman was held scoreless through four innings, but back-to-back run-scoring base hits gave the Panthers the pair of runs they needed to secure the lead and the win, as Gustavus would only place one runner on base over the last two innings.
Cassie Oregel was lights out for the Panthers in the circle, holding the Gusties to four hits and striking out nine.
Game 7 – Gustavus 3, Chapman 4
Sunday’s lone game, a rematch with Chapman, followed a similar script as Saturday’s. Gustavus again scored a run in the first inning to take the early 1-0 lead, this time on a Kaitlyn Bicek RBI-single. However, the Panthers were quicker to respond with two runs in the top of the second and one each in the third and fourth.
After being held scoreless for five straight innings, the Gusties showed signs of life in the bottom of the seventh. Breanne Rentschler (Jr., Lakefield, Minn.) led off the inning with a single to left. She was brought around to score on a Nosan double, who scored on a Chapman error two batters later and Gustavus was in business with only one out. However, the Gusties could do no further damage, and the Panthers escaped with the 4-3 win.
Nosan had another stellar game in the batter’s box, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI to go along with two runs scored.
Game 8 – Gustavus 5, George Fox 16
Gustavus concluded its Spring Training trip with a 16-5 loss to George Fox on Monday. After a scoreless first inning, George Fox scored six runs in the top of the second to take the early lead. The Gusties responded with five runs in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to one run.
The Bruins added a run in the top of the fifth and the two teams went to the seventh with a 7-5 score. However, the flood gates opened in the final frame, as George Fox went on to score nine runs in the seventh to take a 16-5 lead and would not look back in the lopsided win.
For the game, the Bruins registered 18 hits and did not commit an error, compared to 10 hits and three errors for Gustavus. Brittany Brenke (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.) paced Gustavus at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a run scored, while Nosan and Heacox each recorded two RBI.
Gustavus will be back in action this weekend when it hosts Saint Mary’s for a pair of games on Saturday, March 29th. The doubleheader will not be played at the Gustavus Softball Field due to poor field conditions. Rather, the first two games of the conference schedule will take place at Hollingsworth Field. Game one will begin at 2:00 p.m., with the second game directly to follow at 4:00 p.m.