CLERMONT, Fla. – After going 2-0 on Tuesday, the Whitworth softball team split a pair of games on Wednesday at the NTC Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. Whitworth moves to 18-12 on the season.
Game 1 – Whitworth 8, Concordia (Wisc.) 2
Whitworth defeated Concordia University Wisconsin 8-2 to open the three-day stead in Florida. The Pirates got started early, pushing three runs across in the bottom of the first inning, as senior Heather Hesselgesser's singled to right field scored juniors Makenzie Hope and Caylan Haehl. Hesselgesser then scored on a triple from junior Julia Johnson to put the Bucs up 3-0 early.
Whitworth doubled the score in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman M'Liss Powles scored on a passed ball and then a triple from senior Jamie Brunner scored Haehl and Hope. Powles earned an RBI in the bottom of the fifth when she singled up the middle and scored freshman pinch runner Brittany Connor. Whitworth added another run in the bottom of the sixth when Julia Johnson doubled to center field and scored senior Jessica Ross.
Sophomore Riley Fritz (10-2) earned the win, giving up two runs on seven hits, while striking out three of the 28 batters she faced in seven innings. Melissa Perkins (0-4) took the loss, giving up six earned runs on 12 hits in five innings.
At the plate, Jamie Brunner and Heather Hesselgesser both went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Julia Johnson was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI.
Game 2 – Whitworth 4, Carleton 2
Despite recording just five hits in the game, Whitworth was able to push four runs across the plate and took advantage of five Knight errors.
After a scoreless first inning, sophomore Taylor Gilbert walked in the second inning, and scored on a triple from Riley Fritz. Jessica Ross singled in the top of the third inning, advanced to third base on a Carleton throwing error, and scored on another Carleton error. Two batters later, Heather Hesselgesser reached on an error, which allowed Makenzie Hope to score and put the Bucs up 3-0.
After reaching first base on an error in the fifth inning, Hope stole second base and advanced to third on a groundout from Jamie Brunner. Hesselgesser singled in the next at-bat, scoring Hope and putting the Pirates up 4-0. The Knights were able to cut Whitworth's lead in half in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Pirates retired the batters in order in the bottom of the seventh to take the 4-2 victory.
Taylor Gilbert (5-6) earned the win, with one earned run on four hits in seven innings pitched. Keelin Davis (1-3) took the loss, giving up five hits, while striking out eight batters in seven innings.
At the plate, Riley Fritz went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Heather Hesselgesser went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Game 1 – Wisconsin-River Falls 8, Whitworth 7 (8 innings)
After two scoreless innings, the Pirates took advantage of two Falcon errors in the top of the third inning. Senior Natalie Evers reached first in an error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from M'Liss Powles. Another error advanced Evers to third and allowed Makenzie Hope to reach first. Jamie Brunner singled to center field, scoring Evers and giving the Pirates the first lead of the game.
The Pirates went through two more scoreless innings until the top of the sixth. Jamie Brunner walked as the first batter, and Heather Hesselgesser doubled to left center to put both runners in scoring position. Julia Johnson followed Hesselgesser's double with one of her own to center, scoring Brunner and Hesselgesser and putting the Pirates up 3-0 with no outs. After a pitching change, Natalie Evers reached on a fielder's choice, but a failed rundown between the River Falls catcher and third baseman allowed pinch runner Brittany Connor to score.
After pitching five scoreless innings, sophomore Megan Fisher gave up two hits and a walk in the first three at-bats in the bottom of the sixth inning. The next batter singled down the left field line, scoring two runners and cutting Whitworth's lead in half. Two batters later, River Falls tied the game 4-4 with no outs. Brunner doubled and advanced on the top of the seventh, scoring Caylan Haehl from first and tying the game at 5-5. Brunner scored the go-ahead run on a fielding error that allowed Julia Johnson to reach first base. The Pirates took a 6-5 lead into the last half-inning.
The Falcons were able to tie the game and force extra innings, and freshman pinch runner Alyssa Hall scored on a wild pitch to give Whitworth a 7-8 lead, but Wisconsin-River Falls hit a walkoff double that scored two runs and gave the Falcons an 8-7 win in eight innings.
Brooke Lauritzen (7-1) earned the win, giving up just one hit after coming in to pitch the final three innings. Taylor Gilbert (5-7) took the loss, giving up two earned runs on five hits in two innings.
Jamie Brunner went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI. Julia Johnson also had two runs batted in.
Game 2 – Whitworth 7, Buena Vista 4
Whitworth bounced back from the extra inning loss to score first in the bottom of the first inning when Caylan Haehl scored on a Jamie Brunner groundout. After holding the Beavers scoreless in the first three innings, the Pirates pushed three runs across in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-0 lead.
Buena Vista got on the board in the top of the fourth, but the Bucs responded with a run of their one when Jessica Ross scored on a Beaver error to make it a 5-1 game. Whitworth tacked on two runs in the bottom of the sixth, as Heather Hesselgesser doubled, scoring sophomore pinch hitter Peyton McMahon and then Brunner scored on a Johnson sacrifice fly. Buena Vista was able to push three runs across in the top of the seventh, but the Pirates were able to get the final out of the game before the Beavers could do any more damage.
Riley Fritz (11-2) earned the win in the circle, giving up eight hits to the 31 batters she faced in seven innings. Faith Schmidt (2-3) took the loss, giving up four earned runs on six hits to the 15 batters she faced in 2.2 innings.
At the plate, Johns went 1-for-2 with two RBI, while Fritz was 1-for-3 with two RBI.