Softball Bounces Back After Tough Weekend

Joe Stark
jstark@css.edu

The College of St. Scholastica softball team struggled over the past weekend losing three of four games, but bounced back on Tuesday afternoon. The Saints started their weekend Saturday by traveling to St. Paul to take on the University of Northwestern Eagles in a conference showdown and then to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to take on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds on Sunday before returning home to play Northland College on Tuesday afternoon.

CSS came into Saturday undefeated in conference play and looked to keep it that way as they sent Vanessa Kohl to the mound. The Saints didn’t take long to score as they pushed one run across in the top of the first inning on a Hannah Borgeson single to left. After a scoreless first inning by Kohl, the Saints kept the bats rolling and scored four runs in the top of the second headlined by an Olivia Bretting two-RBI double and another RBI-single by Borgeson. After another shutout inning by Kohl, CSS gave her another run with a solo home run by Jena O’Byrne making it 6-0 after three innings. The top of the fourth saw Scholastica push another run across when Toni Bishop singled to center, scoring Bretting and pushing the lead to 7-0. The Eagles were finally able to get to Kohl in the fourth as they scored two runs of their own. Another inning and another run for the Saints occurred in the fifth as they got one run back when Bretting was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which scored Samantha Clark from third base. The Eagles inched closer however in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on three hits and one error. With the score being 8-5, CSS could use some insurance runs, and they got one on an RBI groundout by O’Byrne to put it at a comfortable four-run lead again. Kohl would be lights out the remaining two innings giving up just two hits and stranding three runners. Scholastica’s offense however was not done, as they put up a five spot in the top of the seventh to put the game completely out of reach. Chrisi Mizera was the driving force behind that, as she hit a grand slam with a bomb over the center field fence, putting an exclamation point on a 14-5 win. Mizera finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored, and Bretting was 2-for-3 with four runs scored and three RBIs.

Mizera would be in the circle for the second game of the doubleheader. The first inning was quiet as both pitchers worked quickly. The Saints had two hits in the top of the second, but were unable to push any runs across. The bottom of the second was troublesome for Mizera as she gave up two runs on three hits, but was able to work out of trouble and limit the damage and strand three runners. The third and fourth innings only saw two hits, one by each team, and then the Saints got on the board in the fifth. Northwestern gave up two hits, one of them being to Cindi Rydlund who plated Dakota Underwood. The Eagles struck back in the bottom of the inning though, and scored two runs on two hits to push the lead to 4-1. That was all the scoring they would need as the Saints pushed across only one more run on a solo home run by Mizera, but she would receive the loss and move to 8-7 on the year.

Sunday would be a tough task for the Saints as they took on the fifteenth ranked Blugolds on their home field. Game one was slow going offensively for CSS as even though they out hit the
Blugolds, they were unable to have any timely hits to score any runs. Mizera struggled a bit with her control as she walked six batters, but only gave up two hits and struck out four. She gave up two runs in the bottom of the fourth that would end up being the difference as the Saints lost 2-0. The bats woke up for Scholastica in the second game, but again they were not able to hit when it mattered most. The Saints pounded out thirteen hits compared to the Blugolds nine, but again finding the strike zone was difficult for the Saints as Kohl walked four batters and gave up four earned runs. An error in the bottom of the sixth gave Eau Claire three runs to eventually put the game out of reach despite the Saints scoring four in the top of the seventh, falling by a final of 7-5.

Tuesday the Saints bounced back against Northland, beating them both games by scores of 8-0 and 18-5. Mizera won the first game, improving to 9-8 on year and Borgeson had a 4 RBI game. Game
two was Kohl’s and she earned her eighth win of the year after striking out five in four innings. Maggie Schley had a game of threes, hitting 3-for-3, scoring three runs, and driving in three.

The Saints will be back in action Saturday at Crown looking to win the conference, and then they will return home to play the College of Saint Benedict if the field permits at 1 p.m.