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SMC Softball: Belles host series against MIAA-leading Trine

Matt Unger | Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Belles ride a four-game winning streak into potentially their toughest challenge of the season, as they take on first-place conference foe Trine College on Tuesday.

Saint Mary’s (20-8, 5-3 MIAA), currently tied for third place in the MIAA, has the opportunity to move within a game of first with a doubleheader home sweep of the Thunder (23-5, 5-1).

This weekend, the Belles swept both MIAA-rival Olivet and non-conference opponent Franklin College in doubleheaders. The first game against Olivet and the second game against Franklin both ended after five innings by mercy rule, as the Belles were ahead 16-1 and 11-1, respectively.

The Belles’ offense exploded to score 38 runs over the course of the four weekend games, and Saint Mary’s raised the team’s batting average from .287 to .309.

Senior captain and leftfielder Kristen Nelson, the top Belles hitter on the season, went 4-for-7 with three doubles and five RBIs in the doubleheader sweep of Olivet.

The Belles pitching staff, anchored by sophomore Callie Selner, allowed just five runs in the four games. Selner, who pitched three complete games, improved her record to 11-5 and lowered her ERA to a team-best 1.99.

Meanwhile, the Thunder also ride a four-game winning streak into today’s competition following recent doubleheader sweeps of Hope and Alma. Trine is an established conference powerhouse, having won the MIAA tournament four out of the past five seasons.

Trine’s offense has been formidable throughout the season, batting .336 and hitting 20 home runs, compared to just five homers for Saint Mary’s.

Additionally, their leading pitcher, junior Andi Gasco, holds a 14-2 record with a 1.49 ERA, striking out 109 batters in 108 innings pitched. Gasco is also a dual threat, as she leads the team with six home runs and is second with a .429 batting average.

Following the doubleheader with Trine, the Belles will play six-straight road games, starting Thursday with a doubleheader at MIAA-foe Albion College at 3:30 p.m.