Minneapolis – The Gustavus softball team went 1-1 on the opening day of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Playoffs on Friday at Augsburg and Macalester Colleges.
The second-seeded Gusties first defeated third-seeded Saint Benedict 2-0 behind a no-hitter from rookie pitcher Hannah Heacox (Stillwater, Minn.). Gustavus then fell to top-seeded St. Thomas by the score of 4-1 in the second game.
The Gusties will next take on Bethel, who defeated Saint Benedict in the consolation bracket, in an elimination game tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m., at Macalester College.
Gustavus 2 def. Saint Benedict 0
Gustavus wasted opened the day with a 2-0 win behind the right arm of Hannah Heacox. The rookie hurler threw the first no-hitter of her collegiate career, striking out 10 batters compared to six walks.
The Gusties wasted little time jumping out to an early lead in the first inning. After the Blazers could not take advantage of a pair of walks in the top of the first, the Gusties came back to score the two runs on four hits in the bottom of the first.
Four straight hits to open the game provided the two runs for Gustavus. Shelby Nosan (Jr., Baudette, Minn.) led off the inning with a double to center. Brittany Brenke (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.) followed with a single to center to score Nosan from second.
From there, the two teams settled into a pitcher’s dual, as each team was held scoreless for the remainder of the afternoon. Gustavus went on to register four more hits through the remaining five innings at the plate, but it was Heacox who stole the show to pick up her 12th win of the season.
Nosan and Boissiere each went 2 for 3 in the game to lead the way for the Gustavus offense.
Blazer pitcher Emily Engelmeier put forth an impressive effort of her own, spreading eight hits over six innings and giving up just the two runs in just her second loss of the season.
St. Thomas 4 def. Gustavus 1
In their second game of the afternoon, the Gusties fell in a 4-0 hole that they could not climb out of in a 4-1 loss to top-seeded and regular season champion St. Thomas. Although the Tommies notched just five hits in the game, they took advantage of each one in the victory to punch their ticket to the championship series.
St. Thomas got on top early with a run in the bottom of the first inning. After Gustavus recorded two quick outs to open the game, Tommie catcher Emily Gregory homered to give her team the early 1-0 lead.
After holding Gustavus scoreless in the next two innings, the Tommies put three more runs on the board in the bottom of the third to take a 4-0 lead. Gregory was involved again, this time with a three-run home run with two outs to extend the lead.
The Gusties responded in the top of the fourth when Jessica Williams (So., Plymouth, Minn.) singled up the middle to score Carly Klass (Jr., Richfield, Minn.) from second, but it was all they could manage in the inning. Although Gustavus threatened again in the fifth, it left two runners on base, which was all the closer the Gustie women would get in the three-run loss.
Williams was the only Gustie to record multiple hits in the game. The sophomore went 2 for 3 with the lone RBI for Gustavus. Gregory was the star for the Tommies, going two for three with a pair of home runs and all four RBI in the win.
Hannah Heacox was solid again in the game, pitching six innings and giving up four runs on just five hits and three strikeouts, but was tagged with the loss. Kendra Bowe was awarded the win after allowing just one run on six hits in seven innings of work.
Gustavus will aim to keep its season alive tomorrow morning against Bethel in the consolation bracket. The Gusties will need to win three games tomorrow, one against the Royals and two more against the Tommies to earn the MIAC’s automatic bid to the 2014 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament.