Duhawks StriKeout Cancer, split IIAC DH with Dubuque
PHOTO COURTESY: Jim Naprstek
PHOTO COURTESY: Jim Naprstek
Thu, Apr. 26, 2012 - [Softball]

The Loras College softball team split a key doubleheader with IIAC foe Dubuque on Tuesday and after a shuffling of the schedule headed to Grinnell, Iowa on Wednesday for their third and fourth games in two days. The Duhawks emerged 3-1 from the busy forty-eight hour stretch and have their regular season finale at Central in their sights for Saturday.

  

Game 1- Dubuque 7, Loras 3 (10 Innings)

The most dramatic game of the four was the first for the Duhawks. With four teams fighting for the final two 2012 Iowa Conference Tournament slots, the Key City matchup between the Spartans and Duhawks had two critical wins up for grabs.

 

Dubuque struck first with a single run in the second inning. It came after a one out double and an error on the Loras infield. The Duhawks would tie the game, 1-1, one inning later with an unearned run of their own. Cassandra Maniatis walked, was bunted to second, and moved to third on a throwing error by the catcher on a pickoff attempt before being driven home by Alaina Rigdon.

 

The Spartans would take another brief lead in the top of the fourth. A leadoff double by Lindsay Ellinor made it 2-1 after she was knocked in three batters later.

 

The Duhawks responded quickly with a leadoff single by Katie Serpico. Niki Rivera, Regan Thies, and Maniatis would each lay down bunts in the inning. Thies' set off a series of throws that allowed both Serpico's pinch runner Lara Mangialardi and Rivera to score and take a 3-2 lead.

 

That lead would hold until the top of the seventh inning, when Dubuque would tie the game on three hits, including the squeeze bunt which brought home the visitor's third run of the game.

 

The bottom of the seventh, as well as the eighth and ninth innings, were mostly quiet with little threat of a winning run. The best chance for more runs for the Duhawks came in the sixth inning, when the momentum of a second-and-third with one out scenario came to an abrupt end. After a Loras strikeout, the aftermath of a single to shallow center field by Maniatis was halted by an interference call as Kellie Klein collided with Dubuque's shortstop on her way to third.

 

In the top of the tenth, the Spartans did their damage.

 

The guests scored four runs on four hits and capitalized on one error from the Duhawk defense to open a convincing 7-3 lead. It held up as the Duhawks went down in order in the bottom half of the inning.

 

Dubuque's third baseman Lindsay Ellinor helped the Spartans prevail by going 5-for-5 with three runs scored.

 

Game 2- Loras 2, Dubuque 1

The Duhawks made their two first inning runs hold up for a win in Game 2 on Tuesday.

 

Katie Serpico and Regan Thies drove home Shelby Perkins and Kellie Klein as part of the productive bottom of the first.

 

Ellinor struck again in Game 2, driving home a leadoff single in the Dubuque half of the sixth inning with a double of her own. She would be stranded at third as the Duhawks held on to their 2-1 lead.

 

Loras went quickly in their half of the sixth and the momentum for Dubuque carried into the top of the seventh. A two-out single to left field with a runner at second base wasn't far enough away from Katelyn Jones to get a green light for the tying run, and a strikeout by Susan Danielewski ended the game at 2-1.

 

Kellie Klein allowed five hits in the seven innings and struck out seven Spartans to earn her seventh win of 2012.

 

The split put Loras at 6-8 in the Iowa Conference and in a three-way tie with Cornell and Buena Vista for fifth place. All three teams are on the road against teams ahead of them in the standings to close the regular season on Saturday. The Duhawks will be in Pella, Iowa to take on Central. Cornell is at Luther – who will have at least a share of the IIAC title – and Buena Vista is at Simpson.   

 

In addition to the closely contested softball games on Tuesday, the Duhawks and Spartans joined forces to raise money for the American Cancer Society by taking place in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's (NFCA) StriKeout Cancer initiative. The teams sold t-shirts, held contests and raffles, and had guests throw out a first pitch prior to each game. Rick Rogers represented the Loras fans in Game 1 and Samantha Gerace represented the Dubuque fans in Game 2.

 

All proceeds generated on Tuesday go directly to the American Cancer Society.

 

Game 1- Loras 9, Grinnell 0 (6 Innings)

An Alaina Rigdon triple opened the scoring for the Duhawks in the second inning – scoring Shelby Perkins and Niki Rivera – giving Loras an early 2-0 lead less than 24 hours after the Dubuque doubleheader concluded.

 

The teams would combine for just four hits in the middle innings of Game 1 until the Duhawks came to bat in the sixth. Loras batted around the order and scored seven runs on six hits in the inning to bust open a 9-0 lead. Kellie Klein hit her sixth homerun of the year in the inning. Klein, Rigdon, and Perkins each finished the first game with two hits. Rigdon finished with a team high 4 RBI in the run-rule shortened contest.

 

Stephanie Popovich struck out 11 and gave up just two hits in five innings to earn her eighth win of 2012.

 

Game 2- Loras 14, Grinnell 0 (5 Innings)

Game 2 was even faster, taking just five innings as the Duhawks offense continued to punish the Pioneers' pitching. Loras scored in four of five innings played, including a 4-run fourth and 6-run fifth to take the doubleheader.

 

Every Duhawk in the order reached base and the team finished with 15 hits. Rigdon and Serpico each had 3-hit efforts. Serpico, Jones and Leanne Szela each had 3 RBI.

 

Kellie Klein and Lara Mangialardi combined to allow four hits and strikeout five. Klein was the pitcher of record, getting her seventh win of 2012.