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Sports

Saint Mary’s softball drops low-scoring doubleheader against Chicago

| Friday, April 22, 2022

On Wednesday, Saint Mary’s softball (8-13, 4-6 MIAA) dropped a pair of heartbreaking one-score losses, falling twice in a doubleheader with Chicago 2-1 and 1-0. 

All of the scoring occurred in the 6th inning. In the top of the frame, freshman outfielder Alexis Rauch blasted a solo home run to left-center field, giving the Belles a 1-0 lead. But that lead would prove to be short lived. In the bottom of that same inning, Maroons third baseman Savannah Pinedo singled into left field. After a sacrifice bunt, she was brought home by a game tying single by Katie O’Donnell. Some immediate Chicago swaps both on the basepaths and at the plate would prove prudent, as pinch hitter Ava Sinai cracked a two out double to score pinch runner Clare Fortier.

With the lead safely in hand, Maroons pitcher Paige Heffke would strike out her seventh and eighth batters of the game to record a quick final inning, completing a complete game three-hit win. Senior Mandi Hettinger pitched the full game as well for the Belles. She struck out two and allowed eight hits in six innings of work.

The second game was even more of a pitching duel than the first. Again, it was pinch-running that would prove the difference maker for the Maroons. O’Donnell once again got on base with a single into left field. Once again, a substitute runner replaced her, this time Laila Sims. Sims promptly stole second, and scored soon after on a single to right field by Lainey Hughes. The Belles would retire the side after Hughes’ hit. But the damage was done, as that single run proved to be the game’s only score.

Delaney Romanchick threw a complete game shutout for Chicago, striking out seven. Even though the Belles found themselves on base more than the first game (notching five hits against Romanchick compared to three against Heffke), the clutch firepower displayed by Rauch earlier in the day didn’t materialize. In each of the final three innings, Saint Mary’s left runners stranded in scoring position.

Despite the losing result, sophomore Libby Bierbaum pitched a strong game for the Belles. Bierbaum only allowed four hits and one run in a complete game of work, striking out three in the process.

Looking ahead, Saint Mary’s will look to rebound against Anderson University, with another road doubleheader slated for Friday. The Ravens are just 5-21 on the year and 2-10 in conference play and present a major opportunity for the Belles to notch a pair of victories heading into the home stretch of the season.

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