Belles Blank Vikings in Sweep
- The Belles posted 12 innings of shutout softball in 7-0 and 8-0 (5 innings) wins over North Park.
- Morgan Raymer and Zoe Bruni picked up the pitching victories on the day.
- Six different players had multiple hits in at least one game.
CHICAGO, Ill. - The Saint Mary's softball team posted 7-0 and 8-0 (5 innings) wins over North Park on Friday afternoon in the Belles' final doubleheader before next week's MIAA Tournament.
The Belles jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first half-inning of play against the Vikings. Jamie Young reached on an error and stole second to put a runner into scoring position quickly. Kelsey Keilman beat out a bunt and advanced to second on an error on the same play as Young came around to score the first run of the game. A walk by Cassie Young and an error on a grounder by Makenzie Duncan loaded the bases. Morgan Raymer then drove in Keilman with a single for the 2-0 lead. Caitlyn Migawa delivered a single up the middle to plate Young and Duncan to push the score to 4-0.
After putting runners into scoring position in both the second and third innings, the Belles were able to break through and add to their lead in the top of the fourth. Keilman and Cassie Young hit consecutive one-out singles to start the offense. Duncan hit a double to left field to plate Keilman while advancing Young to third on the play. Raymer then hit an infield single to push Young across to make it a 6-0 game. Alyssa Gutierrez hit a single to right field to load the bases with two outs, but the Belles were unable to inflict any more damage in the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Jamie Young reached first on a fielder's choice, and Cassie Young dropped a single down the left field line with two outs to put a pair of runners on base. Makenzie Duncan then delivered a single to plate Jamie Young to give the Belles a 7-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Morgan Raymer was 13 outs into a no-hitter bid when a key defensive play kept that effort alive. Kelsey Keilman took a strong angle to a fly ball hit into shallow left field near the foul line. The freshman made a diving play to secure the catch as the no-hitter remained in tact. Jessica Alberts came on in relief for the Belles and added a three-up, three-down inning in the bottom of the sixth as the game moved to the final inning. The junior struck out the first batter she faced before the Vikings broke up the no-hitter with consecutive singles. Alberts, however, closed out the game with back-to-back strike outs in the 7-0 final.
Kelsey Keilman was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Cassie Young added a 3-for-4 effort with a walk and two runs. Makenzie Duncan posted a 3-for-5 showing at the dish while collecting a double, two RBI, and a run. Each hitter in the Belles' starting lineup reached base safely at least once in game one.
Raymer posted six strikeouts and did not allow a hit in five innings of work while picking up the win. Jessica Alberts struck out four and surrendered just two hits as neither pitcher for the Belles walked a batter in game one.
Game two saw Saint Mary's gain an early lead yet again. Consecutive one-out walks by Alyssa Gutierrez and Cassie Young put a pair of runners on base. Gutierrez then scored from second on a two-out single by Caitlyn Migawa. Kelsey Keilman was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Zoe Bruni delivered a single to left field to give the Belles the early 2-0 edge.
Saint Mary's threatened to add to the lead in the top of the second, but a pair of fielder's choices left runners stranded in the inning. North Park, meanwhile, had runners on the corners in the bottom half of the second, but Makenzie Duncan tracked down a foul fly ball to end the inning.
The Vikings had their best chance of the day to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning. With bases loaded and no outs, a big defensive play by Caitlyn Migawa at first base saw the Belles cut down two outs at first and home. A fly out then ended the inning as the Belles' defense kept the shutout alive.
Another big play in the fourth inning by Saint Mary's halted another scoring chance for North Park. After a lead-off triple down the left field line put a runner 60 feet away from scoring, Bruni drew a shallow fly out to right field. Makenzie Duncan pulled down the fly ball and fired an on-target throw to the plate. Megan Knudsen had plenty of time to collect the throw and tag out the runner trying to score to again give the Belles two outs on one play. A line out to Migawa ended the inning.
The Belles then sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the fifth inning. Migawa and Keilman led off with singles, and Jill Ackermann came in to pinch run for Migawa. Zoe Bruni then belted a double off the left field fence to score Ackermann from second. Megan Knudsen put down a squeeze bunt while reaching first, and Keilman beat out the play at the plate to score the second run of the inning. Two batters later, Jamie Young drove a double to the left-center gap to push both Bruni and Knudsen across for the 6-0 Saint Mary's lead. A wild pitch advanced Young to third, and Gutierrez drew a walk before stealing second base for two runners in scoring position. Cassie Young put down a bunt, and the North Park pitcher's throw was well off the mark, allowing both runners to score for the 8-0 lead.
Needing at least one run in the bottom of the fifth to keep the game alive, the Vikings got a one-out single to put a runner aboard. After a wild pitch and a successful tag up on a fly out saw that same runner advance to third, Jessica Alberts, who had come into the game at the start of the inning, drew a ground out to end the game.
Jamie Young was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, and a run in game two. Caitlyn Migawa added a 2-for-3 showing at the dish with an RBI. Zoe Bruni was also 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI, and a run.
Bruni picked up the win in the circle after going four complete scoreless innings and scattering five hits with two walks. Jessica Alberts closed out the final inning of play and allowed just one hit while facing four batters.
The Belles (23-13) will await the details of the MIAA Tournament, including their seeding, the location of the tournament, and their first round opponent. The tournament begins on Thursday, May 4. The details will be determined after Saturday's last conference doubleheaders.