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SMC Softball: No. 24 Lady Reds sweep Belles in doubleheader

Matt Unger | Friday, March 30, 2012

Matched against No. 24 Carthage (Wisc.) on Thursday, Saint Mary’s had little room for error. But the Belles (13-7, 0-2 MIAA) faced early deficits in both games of a home doubleheader and could not muster enough offense to avoid back-to-back 8-0 and 12-5 losses to the Lady Reds (12-2).

In the first game, Carthage quickly grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second when freshman right fielder Olivia Scott drilled a two-run home run to center off of sophomore pitcher Carlie Selner. Selner did not receive support from her defense in the third and fifth innings as the Lady Reds tacked on four unearned runs in those frames to extend their lead to 6-0. The Belles made five errors in the first game.

“Our defense was all over the place today,” Saint Mary’s coach Erin Sullivan said. “Our errors piled on as we let physical errors turn into mental ones and made the same mistakes repeatedly.”

Meanwhile, Lady Reds junior pitcher Krystina Leazer held Saint Mary’s offense to just one hit. She pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only two base runners on a hit and a walk. While Leazer was not overpowering – only striking out four – she induced bad contact from Belles hitters, resulting in a number of ground ball outs.

“Our hitters looked very anxious today,” said Sullivan. “They all felt the weight of the world on their shoulders. [Leazer] is a good pitcher, but we made her look a lot better today with our at-bats.”

Leazer improved to 8-1 on the season with the win, while Selner dropped to 6-4 with the loss.

In Game 2, the second inning proved even more disastrous for the Belles, as the Lady Reds scored seven. After recording three straight outs to start the game, senior pitcher Monica Palicki failed to escape the second. Carthage batted around and played small ball, recording eight singles in the inning.

With one out in the second and trailing 7-0, Palicki was replaced by senior Angela Gillis, who would pitch the remaining 5.2 innings.

However, the Belles offense showed signs of life in the third inning. Trailing 8-0, junior catcher Morgan Bedan stroked an RBI double to right field. The Belles would add two more in the inning on a Selner single.

In the bottom of the fifth, Bedan, who finished 2-for-3, drilled a 2-run home run to right-center field to cut the Belles deficit to 9-5.

But Carthage quickly ended Saint Mary’s comeback hopes by responding with three runs in the top of the sixth to retake control of the game.

“Today was a situation where we didn’t have fun,” Sullivan said. “We can’t put too much pressure on ourselves, as we’re capable of competing in a very good MIAA conference.”

Senior Alyssa Schrader (4-1) pitched a complete game for the win, but allowed 11 hits in doing so. Four Belles players recorded two hits, including senior centerfielder Lauren Enayati and junior shortstop Emily Sherwood in addition to Selner and Bedan.

Meanwhile, Palicki (6-1) suffered her first loss of the season after she could not escape the second.

The Belles will not play again until April 5, when they resume MIAA play and host Calvin for a doubleheader at home beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Contact Matt Unger at munger3@nd.edu