Softball sweeps a pair of double-headers in return from Florida
April 1, 2015
As spring temperatures finally roll into River Falls, the softball team is starting to find its stride. After going 5-5 on its trip to Florida, the Falcons have won four straight games up north thanks to a pair of a double-header sweeps.
The Falcons waited over a week to play a game upon returning from sunny Florida. The squad was scheduled to take on Finlandia University in River Falls in its first home series of the season, but due to poor weather the game was moved to Rosemount, Minnesota, so the games could be played indoors.
Both victories over Finlandia saw masterful pitching performances from the Falcons. The first game was won by the arm of pitcher Brooke Lauritzen, who pitched four hitless innings while striking out seven hitters. Lauritzen helped her own cause in the game by knocking into two runners.
Lauritzen started the scoring with an RBI single in the second inning. The single sparked a run rampage for the Falcons as they went on to a 10-1 victory in the first game. A pair of two-run home runs highlighted the box score with designated hitter Kaitlyn Lepine hitting one in the third and outfielder Katie Thompson hitting hers in the fourth. The Falcons platted so many runs that the game was called in the fifth inning.
If Lauritzen’s pitching performance was impressive, pitcher Abbie Morris’ performance in game two was sparkling. Morris was an error away from pitching a perfect game, but a fielding error by Morris during the second batter of game two threw that out the window. Morris went seven innings allowing no hits and no walks in a much closer game against Finlandia.
Only two runs were scored in the game, only one was earned, but both were for the Falcons. The bat of outfielder Shannon Borchardt brought in the first run, but she was not credited with an RBI. Borchardt’s shot to the third baseman was thrown away and an error was assigned as catcher Amber O’Connell touched the plate to score the first run.
Run two was brought in from game one’s star, Lauritzen, as she hit a double to left field which scored O’Connell for her second run of the game. The game went the full seven innings with the Falcons winning 2-0.
Morris said she’s been working on her control and that showed in game two against Finlandia.
“I’m working on decreasing the amount of walks I have, so that was one of my goals going into the game was just to dominate and not to have as many walks,” Morris said.
Head Coach Faye Perkins has been impressed with both her key pitchers.
“I think both Abbie and Brooke, they’ve both really increased their confidence,” Perkins said. “I think our game against Tufts University when we were in Florida, we got beat 2-1 by the number one ranked team in the nation, two-time national defending champions, and we played a tough game and I think the confidence of our whole team has improved with that.”
On Monday, the Falcons traveled to Arden Hills, Minnesota, to take on Bethel University, and once again the Falcons swept a two-game set. Lauritzen once again started the game and went six innings while only allowing two runs. The Falcons scored five runs in the contest including a three-run fifth inning. Two runs scored for the Falcons thanks to a pair of errors on one play after Morris struck out swinging, but the Bethel catcher couldn’t handle the pitch.
Borchardt hit a home run in the sixth in route to a first game 5-2 victory for the Falcons. Morris came into save game one against Bethel and then turned around and was the starter for game two. Morris went 3 1/3 innings allowing two runs in her outing in a 6-5 victory.
A recurring theme in the Falcons' four games is the clutch play of Lauritzen. The Falcons were trailing 5-4 going into the top of the sixth inning when Lauritzen hit a two-run home run to give the Falcons a 6-5 lead. Lauritzen went to the pitching rubber in the seventh to close the door and notch a save as well to seal the Falcons victory.
The Falcons have its next game scheduled for Friday at home against UW-Whitewater to open up WIAC play. Perkins notes that it is anybody’s ballgame in WIAC play.
“The goal is to win the conference, right? That’s always the goal,” Perkins said. “We know in the WIAC that anybody can beat anybody on any given day, so it’s whoever comes ready to play, whoever is fired up and is ready to win the game.”