St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus softball team two big innings, one in each game, to capture a sweep over Saint Mary’s University Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field. The Gusties defeated the Cardinals 5-1 in game one before capturing an 8-0 win in five innings in game two. With the wins, Gustavus improves to 7-7 overall and opens Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) play 2-0, while Saint Mary’s falls to 4-8 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Game 1 – Gustavus 5, Saint Mary’s 1
In a cleanly-played game, the two teams made their way through a defensive battle in the first three innings. Gustavus starting pitcher Hannah Heacox (Fy., Stillwater, Minn.) was phenomenal in the early going, striking out seven of the first 10 Cardinal batters. She would later finish with 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work.
After three scoreless innings to open the game, Saint Mary’s was the first to get on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. The Cardinals took advantage of a lead off walk surrendered to Mariah Harper. After Harper was moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt, pitcher Ashley Betzold helped herself out, bringing Harper around to score on an RBI single to left and Saint Mary’s had a 1-0 lead.
Gustavus answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Senior catcher Kat Dahl (Luverne, Minn.) sparked the big inning with a home run down the left field line to tie the game. Carly Klass (Jr., Richfield, Minn.) followed with a double to right center. She was brought around to score on a single up the middle by Heacox, and the Gusties had their first lead of the afternoon. Two batters later, Shelby Nosan (Jr., Baudette, Minn.) doubled down the left field line to bring in Heacox and came around to score on a Brittany Brenke (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.) triple to left center.
Although Gustavus went on to score another run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a homer from Carly Klass, the damage was done, as the Cardinals could not respond to the four-run inning in the loss.
Klass led the way for the Gusties at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a home run and a double. She also scored a pair of runs in the win. Nosan was the only other player to register multiple hits in the game.
On the rubber, Heacox was lights out with her 11 strikeouts. She also held Saint Mary’s to just two hits and surrendered one walk in the win. The first-year improves to 2-1 on the year.
Game 2 – Gustavus 8, Saint Mary’s 0 (5 innings)
Gustavus wasted little time jumping on Saint Mary’s in game two. The Gusties scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning that was ignited by a lead off home run from Shelby Nosan. After Nosan’s long ball, Gustavus scored the remaining four runs with two outs. The Gustie women put together four straight hits to score the runs.
Kailey Morgan (Jr., Mound, Minn.) singled to left, bringing in Kaitlyn Bicek (So., Northfield, Minn.) from third. Kat Dahl ripped a double to left center, scoring Morgan all the way from first, and Carly Klass doubled to right field to score Dahl. After the Cardinals made a pitching change, Lydia Wagner (Fy., Zumbrota, Minn.) lined a double to right center to bring in Klass and the Gusties had the early 5-0 lead.
After a second straight scoreless top of the inning, Nosan led off the bottom of the second in the same manner that she led off the first: with the long ball. Nosan’s second homer of the game gave the Gusties a 6-0 lead, which is where it would stay until Gustavus scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
With two outs, Paige Breneman (Jr., Sherburn, Minn.) singled up the middle and Nosan walked. Brittany Brenke then doubled to right center to bring both runners around to score to give her team an eight-run lead in the fifth. The game ended with the double, as the mercy rule came into effect.
Nosan continued her strong performance at the dish, going 2 for 3 with two homers, and three runs scored. Bicek and Wagner were also each 2 for 3 in the game.
Jessica Williams (So., Plymouth, Minn.) earned the shutout win, going all five innings and allowing just two hits, while not surrendering a single walk.
Both teams will be back in action tomorrow at Hollingsworth Field. Saint Mary’s will take on St. Olaf in a doubleheader beginning at 10:00 a.m., while Gustavus will host Saint Benedict in a twin bill starting at 2:00 p.m.