Saint Mary’s takes three of four over weekend
Josh Dulany | Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Saint Mary’s split a weekend doubleheader with Adrian before sweeping Manchester on Monday to improve its record to 15-13 and 5-7 in the MIAA.
The Belles’ offense was relatively quiet over the weekend against the Bulldogs (15-11, 5-7 MIAA) before exploding for 17 runs, including eight home runs, against the Spartans (9-21, 6-8 HCAC).
The first game against Adrian was tightly contested, as the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead before Belles sophomore second baseman Angela Dainelli pulled Saint Mary’s (15-13, 5-7 MIAA) even with her first career home run.
The teams traded runs in the sixth inning, and in the top of the final frame, Belles junior outfielder Nina Vlahiotis made a diving catch to keep the game tied heading to the bottom of the seventh. Dainelli reached third on a single and a misplayed ball to lead off the inning and Vlahiotis won the game by bringing Dainelli home on a walk-off squeeze bunt.
The Bulldogs quickly doused Saint Mary’s momentum, however, as they scored two runs in the second game’s opening inning. Belles sophomore third baseman Jackie Martinez tallied the lone RBI of the game for Saint Mary’s in the third inning, but Adrian tacked on three runs in the fifth and held on for the win. Belles sophomore pitcher Sarah Burke took the loss for Saint Mary’s in the second game, but Belles senior pitcher Callie Selner earned the game one win to improve her record to 8-6. Over the course of the doubleheader, Selner pitched more than nine innings with six strikeouts, while only allowing three runs.
Selner was equally impressive Monday against the Spartans, earning her ninth win of the season in the first game. She pitched just under ten total innings on the day, racked up seven strikeouts and earned a save in the second game. In addition to her dominance on the mound, Selner hit three home runs. Each one of her home runs came immediately after sophomore first baseman Jillian Busfield hit home runs of her own. Add in sophomore outfielder Sarah Callis’ home run and a long ball from Dainelli, and the Belles had eight in the doubleheader.
This offensive outburst keyed the two victories. Saint Mary’s scored five runs in the first game’s opening inning and coasted to an easy win behind Selner’s arm. The second game was more of the same as the Belles posted six runs in the opening frame and never led by less than three the rest of the way. The Belles had 12 hits in both games and 17 combined runs, the most Saint Mary’s has scored in any doubleheader this season.
The Belles hope the offense carries over into Wednesday’s contest with Trine. The Thunder (31-2, 14-0 MIAA) are undefeated in conference play and are the top ranked team in the central division of NCAA Division III. They have already clinched the MIAA regular season title and have allowed more than two runs only one time in their 14 conference contests.
On the mound, Thunder junior pitcher Bree Fuller, who has a 17-1 record to go with her 1.45 ERA and 174 strikeouts, leads the way. At the plate, sophomore outfielder Kaitlyn Clark stars with her 43 RBIs and .409 batting average.
The Belles will look to hand Trine its first conference loss Wednesday at Saint Mary’s College. Play gets underway at 3:30 p.m.