Belles Drop Pair of Extra-Inning Heartbreakers
- Jamie Young and Makenzie Duncan each had four hits in the two games combined.
- Cassie Young had a hit in game one and two hits in game two.
- Jessica Alberts and Morgan Raymer combined for 21 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
CLERMONT, Fla. - The Saint Mary's softball team lost a 4-3 (8 innings) game against UW-Stevens Point before coming up just short in a 7-6 (10 innings) game against Rochester (N.Y.) on Thursday night.
The Belles took a quick 1-0 lead in their opening game of the day. Jamie Young led off with a single to center field and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Kelsey Keilman. Two batters later, Cassie Young drove in Jamie with a single through the left side to put the Belles up 1-0 against the Pointers.
Stevens Point used their first two hits of the game - a double and an RBI single - in the bottom of the second inning to efficiently score their first run. Saint Mary's responded right back with a run in the top of the third. Jamie Young again led things off with a single. The junior shortstop then stole second before scoring on an RBI single to right field by Makenzie Duncan. The Belles threatened to add to the lead as Duncan advanced to third on an error on the same hit, but she was stranded on third as Saint Mary's held the 2-1 advantage.
The Belles had chances to get on the scoreboard in the fourth and fifth innings after both Kelsey Richards and Duncan had hits and advanced all the way to third. Both times, however, and infield out closed the door on the chances as the game moved along. After the second inning, the Pointers were unable to get a baserunner past first until the bottom of the sixth. A lead-off walk and sacrifice bunt put a runner on second for Stevens Point, but Jessica Alberts drew a fly out and a strike out looking to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Pointers led things off with a single and a sacrifice bunt to get the tying run into scoring position. A walk and a single through the left side of the infield loaded the bases with one out for Stevens Point. In was was far from a textbook double play, the Belles got the force out at first before throwing behind the runner and getting the tag out at second. Since the second out came via the tag and the lead runner from third had a chance to cross home plate, the tying run was able to score for the Pointers before the third out occurred and the game stayed alive.
Saint Mary's took advantage of the international tiebreaker rule with a runner placed on second base to open the eighth. Cassie Young put down a sacrifice bunt to move Makenzie Duncan to third, and Morgan Raymer delivered a single up the middle to plate Duncan to give the Belles a 3-2 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, Alberts turned the sacrifice bunt attempt into an infield pop up to give the Belles a key first out. Kelsey Keilman then collected a big out in foul territory beyond the left field line to make it two outs gone in the frame. The Pointers, however, walked off with the win after a two-strike, two-out home run to left field ended the game 4-3.
Jamie Young went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base, and Makenzie Duncan added a 2-for-4 effort with a double, an RBI, and a run. Kelsey Richards tallied a 2-for-4 showing at the dish. Cassie Young, Morgan Raymer, and Caitlyn Migawa each tallied a hit with Young and Raymer collecting an RBI each. Jessica Alberts shouldered the tough loss in the circle after chalking up a career-high 11 strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work.
Game two was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning. Morgan Raymer led off the inning with a single and moved up to second on an error by the right fielder. Megan Knudsen entered as a pinch runner to replace Raymer at second. Knudsen then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Zoe Bruni, and the sophomore scored on a single by Krystal Harris to give the Belles the early lead.
Rochester responded with three runs in the top of the sixth inning, but the Belles came right back to knot the game at 3-3 in the bottom half of the inning. Makenzie Duncan, Cassie Young, and Caitlyn Migawa tallied consecutive singles to start the inning. Jill Ackermann came in to run for Migawa, and Duncan scored on a sacrifice fly by Raymer a batter later. Young then scored on a double by Bruni to tie the game at 3-3.
After neither side plated a run in the seventh, the Yellow Jackets claimed a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth after scoring the international tiebreaker runner from second on an error. The Belles forced Rochester to strand runners on second and third as Saint Mary's headed up to the plate to try to keep the game alive. Saint Mary's responded by tying the game up yet again. Makenzie Duncan started the inning on second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Cassie Young. Duncan then scored on an infield ground out by Caitlyn Migawa to keep the game going.
Rochester plated three runs on three hits - all singles - to take their largest lead of the game at 7-4. Jamie Young started off the bottom of the tenth by driving in Harris from second base. Alyssa Gutierrez reached on an error to put a pair of runners on the corners, and Duncan drove in Young with a sacrifice fly to pull Saint Mary's within a run of the Yellow Jackets. A fielder's choice saw Gutierrez get forced out at second, and the Belles' comeback effort was ended with an infield ground out to conclude the game with Rochester taking the 7-6 final.
Morgan Raymer went the distance in the circle and tallied 10 strikeouts while suffering the loss. Jamie Young, Makenzie Duncan, and Cassie Young each collected a pair of hits. Duncan scored two runs, and Jamie Young, Cassie Young, Megan Knudsen, and Krystal Harris each added a run.
The Belles (3-5) conclude their competition in the Spring Games in Florida on Friday when they face Millikin at 8:00 a.m. and Marywood at 10:30 a.m.