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Amran throws no-hitter as Belles split doubleheader

Joe Meixell | Monday, April 30, 2007

In a twice-rescheduled matchup, the Belles split a doubleheader Friday against Hope College (24-11, 12-4 MIAA), posting a 5-6 loss and a 7-6 win on a rain-soaked field.But Saturday, the Belles swept Kalamazoo 10-2, 2-0 as Saint Mary’s hurler Kristin Amram threw a no-hitter in game two – the first no-hitter in the MIAA in more than a year.Head coach Erin Sullivan insisted Friday’s conditions weren’t a major problem for the Belles.”The weather really wasn’t even an issue,” she said. “The only thing was being careful with the field conditions and drying the ball off.”In game one, the Belles managed 10 hits off Hope, but the Dutch responded with 10 hits off sophomore pitcher Calli Davison.Hope started off the first inning by plating a run, but Saint Mary’s quickly knocked in a run of its own in the first, scored by Davison off freshman outfielder Ashley Peterson’s double.The Belles kept the playing field even after Hope scored another two runs in the second inning. Freshman second baseman Maureen Healy hit sophomore first baseman Katie Rashid in while sophomore outfielder Cathy Kurczak scored on Peterson’s sacrifice fly.With the score 3-3 in the third, Rashid hit one out of the ballpark for her fourth home run of the season. The Dutch had two more runs in the fourth and one run in the sixth to make the score 6-4.Kurczak led the Belles’ attempted comeback with an unearned run but could not score again in the sixth or seventh, and the game ended a 6-5 loss for Saint Mary’s.The Belles turned their luck around and handed Hope a 7-6 defeat in the second game. “We knew we should have won the first game,” Sullivan said. “We kind of lost it ourselves. We knew if we made changes in the second game, we were going to win.”In the second game, the Belles played with gusto. Healy went 4-for-4, Kurczak 3-for-3, Davison 2-for-3 and senior shortstop Sarah Miesle 3-for-4. Sophomore pitcher Amram gave up nine hits and struck out eight. The Belles got 14 hits off Hope’s pitching staff.Hope started off the game well, scoring twice in the first, but the Belles swung their way back with four runs in the second from Rashid, Kurczak, Healy, as well as a homer from senior third baseman Laura Heline. In a game marked by multiple long balls, Miesle banged a homer in the fifth and Davison homered in the sixth, knocking in Healy.With the score at 7-3, the Dutch made a run back, scoring three times in the seventh. It wasn’t enough to tie the game, however, and the Belles walked away with the 7-6 win.On Saturday, the Belles secured the No. 4 spot in the MIAA standings by sweeping the Kalamazoo Hornets. Davison gave up just two runs and eight hits while the Belles hit 12 off Kalamazoo’s pitching.The Belles squashed the Hornets with their strong offense as Healy, Davison, Heline, sophomore catcher Ashley Fusaro and Miesle scored five runs in the first. Junior designated hitter McKenna Corrigan, Miesle and Fusaro pounded out three more runs in the third to make the score 8-1. Peterson’s run in the fourth and Kurczak’s single to hit in Heline in the fifth ended the game at 10-2 because of the slaughter rule.In their second win over Kalamazoo, the Belles had more trouble driving in runs, but still managed to pull off a 2-0 victory – thanks for a no-hitter from Amram.It is the third time in Amram’s career that she has thrown a no-no and the first no-hitter in the MIAA since Saint Mary’s alum Bridget Grall threw one April 1, 2006, in a 5-0 win over Adrian. In Amram’s perfect game she struck out nine, bringing her season total to 147 strikeouts.That pitching performance was key, Sullivan said, because the Belles’ hitting wasn’t coming through.”The first game we hit really well,” Sullivan said. “The second game, we had good hits but we couldn’t string them together. But our pitching and our defense was amazing.”Heline scored in the second and Miesle tripled to hit Healy in during the fifth inning. The Belles (23-7, 8-6 MIAA) will face Adrian College (15-11, 4-8 MIAA) today in their last conference game of the season in Adrian, Mich. at 3:30 p.m.”They’ve got a tough team,” Sullivan said of seventh-ranked Adrian. “They hit well and they’ve got a couple of good pitchers. We’re definitely not taking them lightly. We’re going to come out strong.”