ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus softball team team didn’t allow a run against Concordia College in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference sweep on Monday, defeating the Cobbers 12-0 and 5-0.
The Gusties improve their overall record to 19-11 and 6-6 during MIAC play with their second-straight conference doubleheader sweep.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our athletes for coming out and competing,” said Head Coach Britt Stewart. “We took care of business today and played softball like we know how. Our pitching was lights out, we made all of the plays behind them and hit the ball extremely well. I liked the fact that we came out with confidence and intensity to win both games. It was a great start to the week.”
An eight-run fourth inning and a one-hit pitching performance from Hannah Heacox (Sr., Stillwater, Minn.) helped the Gusties seal game one over the Cobbers in five innings.
While Heacox sent down the first six Concordia batters, the offense tallied two runs in each the second and third inning.
Ashley Beise (So., Loretto, Minn.) led off the second with a single through the right side, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Kim Kurtzweg (Jr., Arlington, Minn.). Ali Hoffman (Sr., New Prague, Minn.) then grounded out despite knocking in pinch runner Emily Webb (So., Maple Lake, Minn.) for her first run batted in of the season and the first run of the game. Rachel Malo (Sr., Owatonna, Minn.) and Heacox then posted back-to-back doubles to push the lead to 2-0.
Two runs batted in from Hoffman, a Kurtzweg single, and a Cobber defensive error increased the Gustavus lead to 4-0 in the third inning.
The Gustie bats continued rolling into the fourth, scoring eight runs off seven hits. Malo and Heacox led off with singles prior to a career-first triple from Jessica Neuman (Jr., Elk River, Minn.), clearing the bases. A Beise RBI single, three-RBI double from Aly Freeman (Fy., Omaha, Neb.), another Heacox single, and an error put the dagger in the Cobbers as Gustavus grabbed a 12-0 lead.
Heacox sent Concordia down one-two-three in fifth inning to claim the win, her 10th win of the season and fifth complete game shutout.
All but two Black and Gold batters recorded a base hit, including five Gusties with multi-hit games.
Heacox (3-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Neuman (2-4, 2 RBI), Hoffman (1-3, career-high 4 RBI), Beise (2-3, 1 RBI), Kurtzweg (2-2, 1 RBI), and Malo (2-3) guided the offense.
The Gustie bats stayed warm in game two as they grabbed early insurance with two runs in the first and second innings.
Heacox led off the game with a single and swiped second base. Neuman then reached on an error before her and Heacox scored on another error to move the score to 2-0. The Gusties tallied another two runs off three hits in the following inning, led by a two-RBI single from Neuman, taking a 4-0 lead.
One more run came in the fifth inning to the give Gustavus a 5-0 cushion. Jena Willis (Sr., Kalispell, Mt.) first reached base on a bunt single and came around to score after a Sidney Welp (Fy., St. Peter, Minn.) single through the left side.
Willis and Freeman combined for the shutout on the rubber. Willis pitched the first two innings, posting five strikeouts and no hits to earn the win and improve her record to 9-4 on the season. Freeman came into the pitcher’s circle in the third inning and closed out the game with five shutout innings, allowing just three Cobber hits.
Ali Hoffman posted a career-high three hits to lead the Gusties at the plate. Neuman (1-3, 2B, 2 RBI) and Welp (1-3, 1 RBI) were the run producers.
“I am most proud of Ali Hoffman for stepping up today at the plate. We also had a great performance from Aly Freeman on the mound. I know she is seeing how much her hard work has paid off. I can’t wait to see what else this team can accomplish this week,” said Stewart.
The Gusties return to action on Wednesday as they head to St. Paul, Minn. for a MIAC doubleheader with St. Catherine University. Game one is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start .