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MIAA powerhouse Alma sweeps Belles

Justin Stetz | Monday, March 29, 2004

Over the weekend, Saint Mary’s played host to MIAA power Alma College (20-2). Last year the Scots shutout the Belles in both games after jumping out to early leads.

Going into this game, the Belles had lost the last seven and were seeking a much needed win. Unfortunately for the Belles, it wasn’t their day.

“We knew that Alma was going to be not only our toughest competition in the conference, but two of our hardest games this season, seeing as how they are ranked 11th in the nation,” Saint Mary’s outfielder Erin Sullivan said. “We knew that we needed to not make any errors and just capitalize on their mistakes.

“Also, our intensity and focus was key. We knew that we needed to jump on them early and not dig ourselves a hole.”

In game one of the doubleheader, the Scots started strong by singling to the left side in the first inning. Followed by a bunt and another single, the Scots scored their first run.

In the second, Alma College struck again with a hit to left field. The runner on first then advanced to second on a sacrifice, and the next hitter reached safely on an error, helping Alma score their second run. However, the Scots were not done yet.

The runner on first stole second and finally scored on another error giving Alma a 3-0 lead in the top of the inning.

In the third, Saint Mary’s gave up another run when Laura Rochon of Alma College led off with a home run to left field.

The last two of the Scots’ six runs came in the fifth inning when Rochon and Megan Knochel scored on an Eileen Butler single.

The Belles were only able to manage just two hits, the first coming from Angie Ellison in the second inning when she singled to left center and the second occurring in the seventh inning when Katrina Tebbe singled up the middle.

The second game of the day was a much closer battle, but the outcome resulted in another loss for the Belles. In this game, Kate Sajewich took the mound for the Belles and held the Scots scoreless through the first three innings.

In the fourth inning, however, the Scots reached first on an error and Rochon hurt the Belles again when she singled to shortstop and later stole second. The next batter doubled and both runs scored putting Alma up 2-0.

In the fifth, the Scots scored their third and final run, which began with a Lindsay Powers single. A double to left center then followed, scoring the run.

For Saint Mary’s, the only run they scored all day came in the sixth inning when Marnie Walsh doubled and scored on a single by Laura Heline. The Belles were able to collect six hits in the contest compared to Alma’s seven, but were not able to capitalize when it mattered the most.

Saint Mary’s threatened in the seventh when Sullivan started the inning off with a single to left center and Jean Downes doubled, but the next two batters struck out ending the Belles’ chances of making a comeback.

This week’s losses make the Belles 5-11 on the season as they prepare to take on Tri-State University at home today at 3 p.m. The Thunder are 5-8-1 on the season.

“The only thing we need to do differently is be more aggressive with our bats,” Sullivan said. “We are focused on scoring first. We played a great second game defensively on Saturday, and if we bring the same intensity and drive to win, we will take two tomorrow.”