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Belles ready to take on streaking Tri-State

Rebecca Slinger | Friday, April 13, 2007

Facing a team with a nine-game winning streak may seem daunting to some, but Saint Mary’s said it was ready.The Belles (14-4, 1-3 MIAA) will face league rival Tri-State in a doubleheader Saturday in Angola, Ind., beginning at 1 p.m. Tri-State, currently third in the league, has a conference record of 2-0 and an overall record of 18-4. The doubleheader with the Belles will be Tri-State’s second in two days. The Thunder take on Olivet today in a series that was postponed from Thursday.After dropping three of its first MIAA contests, Saint Mary’s sits at seventh in the MIAA. Sweeping Tri-State is important if the team wants to reach its goals of postseason play, Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “We always want to win all of our conference games,” Sullivan said. “Tri-State is doing a great job this year but they are a team we can beat as long as we’re prepared.”The Thunder, who are 7-1 at home, have a potent mix of power hitting and pitching. Only three players are hitting below .300. Their bullpen is deep, too -their five pitchers feature a combined ERA of 2.57. But the Belles pitching is just as stingy. Talented sophomore pitchers Calli Davison and Kristin Amram have a 2.03 ERA between them.The Belles recently split a doubleheader against Calvin, which squeaked out a 4-3 win in the second game. Sullivan said her team needs to maintain focus in order to sweep one of the league’s best teams. “I think we have to realize that once game one is over, game two is a completely separate game,” Sullivan said. “We have to come out with the same intensity and the same motivation to want to win.”