St. Paul, Minn. – The Gustavus softball team won its fourth consecutive game and ninth in the last 10 on Saturday afternoon when it swept Hamline University in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) doubleheader. The Gusties shut out the Pipers 2-0 in game one before capturing a 7-1 win in game two. With the wins, Gustavus improves to 23-13 overall and 17-5 in the MIAC, while Hamline drops to 16-17-1 overall and 10-8 in league play.
Game 1 – Gustavus 2 def. Hamline 0
The Gusties scored a run in the top of the first and another in the top of the third to capture a 2-0 win in game one. The pair of runs was all Gustavus needed, as first-year pitcher Hannah Heacox (Stillwater, Minn.) was lights out yet again in a three-hit shut out.
In the first, Shelby Nosan (Jr., Baudette, Minn.) reached on a Hamline error before Brittany Brenke (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.) bunted for a single to put runners on first and second with no outs. After Kaitlyn Bicek (So., Northfield, Minn.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners, Nathalee Boissiere (So., Plymouth, Minn.) grounded out to the first baseman, but it did the job, bringing in Nosan from third to give the Gusties the early 1-0 lead.
Gustavus added another run in the top of the third. Brenke got things going with a two-out double to center field and came around to score on a Bicek single through the left side.
While the Gusties gave pitcher Hannah Heacox a two-run lead, the first-year would hardly need it. Heacox faced just 12 batters through the first four innings and would face just 23 batters in the game.
Hamline’s only threat came in the bottom of the fifth, when the Pipers were able to put a runner on third with two outs. However, Heacox came up with a big strikeout to end the inning and extinguish Hamline’s only true scoring threat of the game.
For the game, Gustavus registered seven hits compared to Hamline’s three. Nosan and Brenke each had multi-hit games to lead the Gustavus offense, each going 2 for 4 with a run scored in the game.
Heacox picked up her 11th win of the season in the three-hit shut out. She went all seven innings, striking out eight and walking just one. Brooke Chapman pitched a solid game of her own in the loss, allowing two runs, just one earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts and one free pass.
Game 2 – Gustavus 7 def. Hamline 1
Game two saw more offense from the Gusties. Gustavus started strong out of the gate with three runs in the top of the first innings. Although the Gustie women went on to score four more runs, the big first inning was all they would need, as they held the Pipers to just one run in the six-run victory.
After Shelby Nosan led off the game with a double to left, Kaitlyn Bicek homered to left center to give the Gusties a 2-0 lead. Three batters later, Rachel Malo (Fy., Owatonna, Minn.) nailed an RBI triple to right to extend the lead to 3-0.
Hamline answered with a run in the bottom of the third when Chelsea Koehn walked to bring in Mary-Clare Couillard from third. However, it was all the Pipers would manage, as they left the bases loaded.
Gustavus came back to score a run in the top of the fifth and three more in the sixth to push on for the six-run win. In the fifth, an RBI single to right from Bicek extended the Gustie lead to 4-1. Malo got things going in the sixth with a solo home run. Four batters later, Ali Hoffman (Fy., New Prague, Minn.) singled in a run before scoring on a Hamline error to give Gustavus the 7-1 win.
Hoffman, Bicek, Malo, and Addy Nelsen each recorded multiple hits in the game for the Gusties. Bicek led the way, going 2 for 3 with three RBI thanks in large part to the two-run home run. Malo followed at 2 for 4 with two RBI on a home run and a triple, while Hoffman went 2 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored. Jamie Rubbelke was Hamline’s top offensive weapon. She went 3 for 4 in the game.
Jessica Williams (So., Plymouth, Minn.) picked up the win on the rubber for the Gusties. The sophomore scattered 11 hits and allowed just one run with five strikeouts in a complete game effort. Brianna Vela was given the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits in four innings of relief.
Saturday’s doubleheader marked the final two games of the regular season for the Gusties, as their doubleheader with St. Scholastica, originally scheduled for Monday, April 28th has been cancelled. Gustavus will now await the announcement of the MIAC Playoff field, where they have secured the second seed. The conference tournament is scheduled for Friday, May 2nd and Saturday, May 3rd at Augsburg and Macalester.