Belles Pick up Pair of Wins on Opening Day
- Cassie Young was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI to help lead the way against Greenville.
- Alyssa Gutierrez was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored in the win over LaGrange.
- Jessica Alberts and Morgan Raymer picked up the pitching wins on the day.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Saint Mary's softball team opened up the 2018 season with a 4-3 win over Greenville and an 11-3 (5 innings) decision against LaGrange at Transylvania University's Pio Classic.
After forcing Greenville into stranding a runner on third in the top of the first inning, the Belles broke through with a run in the bottom of the second. Cassie Young led off with an infield single and moved into scoring position by stealing second base. The senior advanced to third on a wild pitch, and two batters later, Kelsey Richards drove in Young with a double for the 1-0 lead.
Jessica Alberts and the Saint Mary's defense kept the Panthers off of the base paths in the third and fourth innings. Alberts had a pair of strikeouts in the third and one in the fourth while Kelsey Keilman cut down a Greenville player at second base who was trying to extend a single into a double in the third inning.
The Belles posted two runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Cassie Young started off the frame by reaching second on an error by the right fielder. An out later, she stole third to move 60 feet away from home. Kelsey Richards reached on an error while also driving in Young for a 2-0 lead. A passed ball saw Richards advance to second, and Megan Knudsen drew a walk to put a pair of runners on base. Both Belles moved up 60 feet on a wild pitch, and Richards later scored with two outs on another wild pitch for the 3-0 advantage.
Saint Mary's added another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Jamie Young led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a ground out by Kelsey Keilman. Makenzie Duncan singled to third base, which also allowed Young to move up to third on the play. Cassie Young then drove in Jamie Young on a single to the pitcher to put the Belles up 4-0.
The Panthers posted three runs in the top of the sixth inning on three hits, a walk, and a sacrifice fly to cut the Saint Mary's lead to one at 4-3. Jessica Alberts re-entered the pitching circle in the top of the seventh. The senior posted a strikeout before the Panthers dropped in a single and stole a base to put the tying run into scoring position. Alberts collected another strikeout and drew a fly out to end the game with the 4-3 final score.
Cassie Young was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI to help lead the way. Kelsey Richards added a 1-for-3 effort with a double, two RBI, and a run. Jamie Young and Makenzie Duncan each posted a hit. Jessica Alberts picked up the win in the circle. The senior threw five innings and did not allow a run while striking out seven. Zoe Bruni had two innings of work and struck out one.
Game two saw the Belles storm out to an 8-0 lead through the first half-inning of play. Saint Mary's sent 12 batters to the plate and collected five hits, two walks, and two stolen bases en route to the eight-run outburst. Jamie Young had a lead-off single, and Makenzie Duncan belted a home run two batters later to open up the scoring. Cassie Young, Bridget Sweeney, Kelsey Richards, Emma Conroy, Megan Knudsen, and Alyssa Gutierrez all touched home for the eight runs before LaGrange could post their second defense out of the frame.
LaGrange got a run back in the bottom of the first inning to make it an 8-1 score. The Belles loaded the bases in the top of the second inning, but a pair of strikeouts shut down the scoring chance. On the defensive end, Saint Mary's held the Panthers scoreless in both the third and fourth innings despite LaGrange putting runners on second and third with fewer than two outs in each frame.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Belles broke through with three more runs. Knudsen singled through the left side, and Gutierrez singled and advanced on the throw as Knudsen went from first to third on the hit to put runners on second and third. Jamie Young singled to drive in Knudsen and moved up to second on the play. Jill Ackermann had a pinch hit appearance result in an RBI on a ground out as the sophomore drove in Gutierrez while moving Young up to third. Duncan then drove in Young with a sacrifice fly to push the Belles ahead 11-1.
LaGrange needed at least three runs to keep the game alive in the bottom of the fifth inning with the eight-run mercy rule looming. The Panthers drew back-to-back walks to start the inning and got one run on a double to left-center. Two batters later, LaGrange plated a second run on an infield ground out. Morgan Raymer, however, closed out the complete-game effort in the circle by drawing another ground out.
Alyssa Gutierrez was 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Cassie Young added a 2-for-3 effort with a run scored, and Jamie Young posted a multi-hit game by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Makenzie Duncan was 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, three RBI, and a run scored. Every batter in the starting lineup for the Belles reached base at least once in the win. Morgan Raymer picked up the complete-game win after going all five innings and scattering six hits while striking out two.
The Belles (2-0) return to action on Sunday when they square off against LaGrange for a second time before taking on host Transylvania at the Pio Classic in Kentucky.