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SMC Softball: Belles host first round of doubleheaders

Matt Unger | Friday, March 23, 2012

After opening the season with 12 neutral site and road games, the Belles finally start the home slate of their schedule with two doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday at the Saint Mary’s College softball field.

Saturday is the conference opener in addition to the home opener for the Belles (10-2), as they face Adrian College. The first game starts at 1 p.m.

The Belles look to rebound from their second loss of the season after a doubleheader split at Wheaton College on Tuesday. Both games were decided by one run. The Belles took the first game 3-2, but fell behind 5-0 in the second contest, before falling short on a comeback in a 5-4 loss. However, key players for the Belles were sidelined for the doubleheader.

“I’m happy with the way we started in non-conference play, and we hope to carry the momentum into MIAA play,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “This is the most well-rounded team we’ve had, and they bring a really good attitude to the diamond.”

Senior Monica Palicki and sophomore Callie Selner lead the Belles on the mound. Palicki is already 4-0 for the Belles, including a complete game, 2-0 shutout against Mount Saint Mary (NY) in Florida. Selnar enters the weekend at 5-1, coming off a complete-game win in the first game against Wheaton.

Meanwhile, the Adrian College Bulldogs (7-6) are coming off a doubleheader loss to Concordia (Mich.) last Saturday. The Bulldogs started last season 23-0, before losing their first game of the season to the Belles on April 9. They finished 35-7 and remain a dangerous team, according to Sullivan, as they return most of their roster.

“Adrian knows how to win big games, and they have a great pitcher in [senior] Kelly Eberhardt,” Sullivan said. “We need to jump on her mistakes and bring our ‘A’ game in order to win two games from them.”

Eberhardt led the Bulldogs at 22-6 in 2011 with a 1.58 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 172.2 innings.

On Sunday, the Belles face a non-conference test in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. against North Park University (Ill.), which enters the weekend at 10-4.

“The Vikings are scrappy, fast and two out of their three starters are lefties,” Sullivan said. “We scheduled them because we want to play challenging teams in our region in order to get ranked and because we can handle better competition.”

The Belles return to the road on Monday, when they travel to Defiance College (Ohio) for a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m.


Contact Matt Unger at munger3@nd.edu