Duhawks go 2-1 on final non-conference weekend
Kellie Klein rounds third to meet her teammates after Sunday's walk-off HR
Kellie Klein rounds third to meet her teammates after Sunday's walk-off HR
Tue, Mar. 29, 2011 - [Softball]

The Loras College softball team played three games over the weekend before beginning their Iowa Conference schedule on April 2 against Buena Vista. The Duhawks played a chilly single game at Clarke University and a doubleheader with the Carthage Lady Reds on Sunday. Each of the three games were close - with two requiring extra innings - and another ending in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off homerun. Here's the individual game recaps.

Loras 8, Clarke 0 (8 Innings)

The Duhawks and Crusaders played to a nail-biting 0-0 tie through seven innings on Friday afternoon before the Duhawks put an 8-spot on the scoreboard in the eighth inning.

Kellie Klein and Nicky Newhoff combined to give up just six hits (Newhoff 1, Klein 5) through seven innings. The one Duhawk hit Newhoff gave up was, ironically, to Klein in the fifth inning. Only in the third inning did Klein concede more than one hit in any single inning. That threat ended with an outfield assist on a throw in from Beth Miller in left field.

The Crusaders went to the bullpen for extra innings and the Duhawks quickly took advantage of Newhoff's absence. Caitlin Woods gave up a mix of hits, errors, and walks to load the bases against the top of the order and set up Tracy Sullivan for the difference making at bat. The senior catcher drove a grand slam beyond the left center field fence to open the scoring in the top of the inning. The Duhawks followed with four more runs and left the bases loaded to extend the lead to 8-0. Other hits in the inning came from Shelby Perkins, Sara Palczynski, Nancy Pater, Katelyn Jones, and Klein.

Klein returned to the mound in the bottom of the inning for a quick 1-2-3 fly out-strikeout-groundout half inning and earn the win against the 2-3-4 hitters in the Crusaders' order. Loras improved to 4-9 with the extra-inning win.

Game 1 - Carthage 4, Loras 2

Matching one-run innings by the Lady Reds and Duhawks in the first and fourth innings had the teams tied at 2-2 after seven innings, forcing the Duhawks into their second straight extra-inning contest.

Carthage scored first on an RBI single in the top of the first and the Duhawks quickly answered with back-to-back extra base hits by Kelsey Techlin and Katelyn Jones in the bottom half.

Steph Schafer led off the fourth inning with a solo homerun and the Duhawks battled out of a jam with the three other hits that followed in the inning to keep it at 2-1 in favor of the visitors. Katelyn Jones scored an unearned run in the bottom of the inning to tie things at 2-2. The teams scattered six more combined hits over the next three innings, but were unable to score any more runs. That stretch included just two hits off Loras reliever Stephanie Popovich, who entered the game in the fifth inning.

In the eighth, one of two walks to start the inning - along with a double - came across to score the eventual game winning runs on a single by leadoff hitter Bry Heckel. Loras went down in order in the bottom of the inning, ending the game at 4-2 in favor of the Lady Reds.

Game 2 - Loras 6, Carthage 4

The Duhawks used the long ball in Game 2 against Carthage to return to the win column and earn the doubleheader split with the Lady Reds. Loras held 1-0 and 4-3 leads for starting pitcher Michelle Sabatini at different points in the game before things nearly slipped away late.

Shelby Perkins and Deanna Angelini sandwiched hits around a Niki Rivera sacrifice bunt to open the scoring in the third inning. That 1-0 lead held up until the top of the fifth. Two singles and two doubles by the Lady Reds gave them at 3-1 lead as the top of their order continued to push across runs.

A two out rally in the bottom of the inning quickly put the momentum back in the Duhawks' dugout. Beth Miller singled to start the inning and after a fly out and groundout, was at third base for Tracy Sullivan. Sullivan stepped in and drilled a two-run homerun to tie the game at 3-3. Sara Palczynski then followed with a line drive solo homerun to straight away center field that caromed off the fence and out to reclaim the lead for the Duhawks.

A quick sixth inning led to the Lady Reds countering with a two-out single by Vicki Pyan to tie the game in the top of the seventh.

That set the stage for yet another two-out scoring chance. Jones and Palczynski sandwiched fly outs around a Tracy Sullivan single setting up the game-winning hit for Loras. Kellie Klein battled Game 1 winning pitcher and Game 2 reliever Krystina Leazer to a dramatic two-strike at bat before driving an opposite field homerun out to end the game.

The win put the Duhawks at 5-10 entering the Iowa Conference schedule. Three more non-conference doubleheaders remain on the schedule, but league play begins at Faber-Clark Field on Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 PM. Live stats will be available at GameCentral for the doubleheader against Buena Vista.