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SMC?Softball: Freshman tosses no-hitter in Belles sweep

Kate Grabarek | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Freshman Angela Gillis became an instant star when she threw a no-hitter to help the Belles sweep a doubleheader against Goshen Tuesday at Saint Mary’s.

The Belles shut out Goshen in both contests, winning the first game 4-0 and the second 11-0.

“[Gillis] was fantastic,” Belles coach Erin Sullivan said. “She hit all of her spots and stayed very composed out there on the mound. Ashley Fusaro also called a great game for us behind the plate, and our defense made some great plays behind her.”

Gillis (6-0) struck out seven of the 18 batters she faced in the game.

The Belles’ bats were behind Gillis throughout the game, and the team jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after the first inning.

“Chemistry is definitely a strength for our team at this point,” Sullivan said. “We don’t know which portion of our team is going to shine for us on a day-to-day basis, which makes us tough to scout. Today it was our bats, but other days our pitching has really stepped up and helped us win some close games.”

Junior Ashley Peterson and senior Cathy Kurczak added to the lead for the Belles with home runs in the second and third innings, respectively.

Freshman Kristen Nelson also drove in a run in the third inning of the game to give the Belles an 8-0 lead.

In the first game, freshman Monica Palicki threw a three-hit shutout to earn her fifth win of the season.

Peterson and Fusaro were stars in game one as well, hitting back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie.

Peterson is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak.

The Belles will remain at home to face Manchester today.

“Manchester is our first inter-region game,” Sullivan said. “We are 29-5 at home in the last three years and we will be looking to continue that streak. Also, this year’s freshman class is undefeated at home and they also want to maintain that dominance.”

The team will look to continue tuning up their games before opening conference play on March 30 against Calvin.

“One of the major team goals is to win the conference tournament,” senior Katie Rashid said. “We also want to advance to the Regional tournament for the first time in school history.”

Saint Mary’s will host Manchester in a double-header today beginning at 3:30 p.m.