Saint Mary’s swept by Wheaton, loses fourth straight
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, March 21, 2016
Saint Mary’s lost both games of a doubleheader to Wheaton on Saturday, extending its losing streak to four games.
In the first game, the Belles (8-5) got on the scoreboard first, as a single by sophomore outfielder Cassie Young plated her twin, shortstop Jamie Young, in the bottom of the third inning. The Thunder (11-3) responded with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead.
Saint Mary’s had a chance to even the score in the bottom of the fifth but was unable to capitalize. Following a two-out double by sophomore outfielder Makenzie Duncan, Cassie Young singled to the second-base hole, but Duncan was thrown out at the plate attempting to score.
Wheaton extended its lead to 6-1 in the top of the sixth with a four-run inning, including a three-run home run. The Belles were unable to get anything going offensively the remainder of the game, and the Thunder closed out their 6-1 victory. Saint Mary’s was unable to convert several scoring opportunities, as they left six runners on base in the contest. Although the Thunder only outhit the Belles 9-7, they were able to score five more runs.
Despite suffering the loss, Belles senior pitcher Sarah Burke reached an impressive milestone, registering the 200th strikeout of her Saint Mary’s career in the game.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Belles continued to struggle offensively. Senior third baseman Kayla Chapman had their only hit of the night with a single in the bottom of the fifth inning. A couple of other runners made it on base, including senior captain and catcher Jillian Busfield, who drew a walk, and sophomore second baseman Kelsey Richards, who reached first on an error by the Thunder.
However, the Belles’ defense shined in the game, despite the lack of offensive productivity. With no errors on the night, the Belles were able to minimize the production of the Thunder lineup. In the first inning, they foiled a Thunder suicide squeeze attempt as Busfield tagged out the runner from third at the plate. Busfield also threw out a Wheaton runner attempting to steal second base in the seventh inning, ending a potential scoring opportunity for the Thunder.
Wheaton was able to get on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning, and the score didn’t change for the remainder of the contest. The Thunder scored two runs following a base hit with two outs. Sophomore pitcher Morgan Raymer took her first loss of the year despite only giving up four hits and notching three strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Saint Mary’s will next play Aurora on Tuesday at the Chicago Bandits’ Stadium, a professional softball venue. The Spartans (5-5) are also coming off a doubleheader sweep by Wheaton, losing to the Thunder two days before the Thunder’s series with the Belles by scores of 9-5 and 6-2, respectively. Prior to their series with the Thunder, however, the Spartans had scored twenty-five runs over the span of three games.
First pitch between the Belles and Spartans on Tuesday is scheduled for 4 p.m.