Duhawks split with #6 Central in Pella, qualify for 2012 IIAC Tournament
Mon, Apr. 30, 2012 - [Softball]

In the final weekend of the regular season, the Duhawks traveled to Pella, Iowa to take on the Central Dutch. With rain moving two other key matchups in the race for the 2012 IIAC Tournament to Sunday, the Duhawks were focused on doing their part to reach the tournament.  

 

Game 1: Loras 3, Central 2

 

The Loras College softball team opened the weekend with a win over the #6-ranked Dutch. The Duhawks struck first in the top of the first inning.

 

Kellie Klein homered to set the pace for the Duhawks with two outs. The team high seventh long ball of the year for Klein came before she took the mound in Game 1.

 

Klein kept the Duhawks in front in the bottom of the first, but in the bottom of the second, the Dutch cracked the scoring column. Central logged three hits and scored their runs on a groundout and a bunt. Loras also committed one error on defense to keep the inning going for the hosts. The inning ended with the Dutch trying to move around the bases and having a runner thrown out at home and a ground out – leaving two runners on base.

 

Loras quickly answered in the top of the third inning.

 

Niki Rivera used an infield single, throwing error, and sacrifice bunt to get all the way to third base. After a strikeout, the Dutch elected to intentionally walk Klein to get to Loras' leading hitter Katie Serpico. Serpico promptly cleared the bases with a double, reclaiming the lead for the Duhawks, 3-2.

 

Klein would make it hold up, allowing only two more hits to the Central offense over the final four innings. She struck out five in the complete game win, earning her eighth win of the season.

 

The win was the important seventh of the year in the Iowa Conference.

 

Game 2: Central 9, Loras 1 (6 Innings)

 

The Duhawks were unable to sweep the road contests after the Dutch bats got going in Game 2.

 

Central scored seven runs in the first two innings courtesy of six hits against starter Stephanie Popovich. Central would get the two runs they needed to end the contest early in the sixth inning against reliever Holly Klein.

 

Loras' run came in the fifth inning. Niki Rivera tripled and was driven home by Shelby Perkins' single one batter later.

 

The win put Loras in position for a spot in the 2012 IIAC Tournament, but they needed to wait until the conclusion of Sunday's games to be certain. After Cornell was swept in Decorah, the Duhawks inclusion was sealed. The team will be the #5 seed and play in Thursday's opening game against #4 Coe. Loras and Buena Vista each earned road wins to finish 7-9. Loras' record against the four teams ahead of them in the standings (3-5) was better than the Beavers' (1-7).

 

You can follow the 2012 IIAC Tournament at iowaconference.com HERE, and via host Luther College HERE.