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SMC Softball: Belles sweep struggling Calvin in doubleheader

Matt Unger | Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A doubleheader sweep over Calvin on Thursday highlighted by a walk-off win vaulted Saint Mary’s back into contention in the MIAA. The Belles (15-7, 2-2 MIAA) took advantage of a struggling Calvin squad (5-13, 0-2) to win two games at home, 1-0 and 7-5.

Game 1 featured a dominant pitching performance by Belles sophomore Callie Selner. She pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits while striking out three and walking none.

“[Selner] threw really well and was very effective in working ahead on batters,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “Her curveball was not working well, but she was smart in adjusting.”

Selner had no margin for error, as Calvin sophomore pitcher Lina Avila matched her in silencing the Belles bats until the seventh.

After the Belles put runners on first and second to start the seventh, junior shortstop Emily Sherwood dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance them to second and third with just one out. Senior Kristen Nelson then drove a ball to deep right past a drawn-in outfield for a game-winning, walk-off double.

“Nelson has been amazing recently as she has sparked our offense,” Sullivan said. “She fights off pitches and puts up strong at-bats.”

Selner (7-4), with the win, dropped her ERA to a team-leading 2.30 and finished her 11th complete game of the season in just 12 starts.

The second game of the afternoon proved to be a back-and-forth, high-scoring affair. After Calvin took an early 1-0 lead in the first, Saint Mary’s answered in the top of the second with two runs. With two outs, Nelson laced an RBI triple to deep right field and then scored on senior center fielder Lauren

Enayati’s single.

The Belles then extended their lead to 4-1 in the top of the fourth on a RBI single by freshman outfielder Victoria Connelly. Junior catcher Morgan Bedan, who went 3-for-4, followed with an RBI double to right field to plate the second run of the frame.

However, Belles senior starter Angela Gillis ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth as the Knights scored three to tie the game. After walking two straight batters with one out, the Knights scored twice on fielder’s choices. Their only hit of the inning was a single to center, which scored the game-tying run.

The Belles again responded with a three-run fifth to seize control of the game. After opening the inning on singles by Gillis and freshman first baseman Jordie Wasserman, the Belles decided to move the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt. Gillis then scored on a wild pitch, while Wasserman scored on Nelson’s second RBI of the game – a sacrifice fly.

“It was nice to respond with big innings,” Sullivan said. “We were doing that early in the season, and we got our confidence back with this game.”

The third run of the inning scored on an error, and the Belles would hold on to win, 7-5. Gillis evened her record at 2-2 while pitching all seven innings for the win.

The Belles travel to Hope College today for a doubleheader starting at 3:30 p.m.

Contact Matt Unger at munger3@nd.edu