LU softball stays on course for tournament berth

Alexander Weck

The Vikings started the latter half of their week by routing visiting Lakeland College. The first game saw last week’s MWC player of the week, Lauren Kost, grab her 12th win of the season without allowing an earned run. Kost struck out three and allowed only one hit. The Lawrence offense was paced by junior Becca Reason, who had four hits and scored three times. Toren Johnson, Carrie Van Groll, and Loni Philbrick-Linzmeyer were also solid, combining for five RBIs.
The second game was much like the first, this time with freshman Catherine Marinac earning the win. Philbrick-Linzmeyer was impressive with the bat, going 3-for-4, including a triple, and powering in three runs.
On Saturday, the Vikes resumed conference action, traveling down to windy Beloit. Both teams got onto the scoreboard in the fourth inning, putting the score at 3-2 in Beloit’s favor. Lawrence was quick to equalize, as Van Groll drove in Reason the very next inning. The deadlock went into extra innings and Beloit eventually won the heartbreaker in the 10th. Lawrence bounced back from its loss to take the second game 4-0. The Vikes capitalized on Beloit’s four errors in the second inning, converting each for a run. Kost turned in another stellar defensive performance, giving up just one hit.
The nomadic Vikes later headed further south to play the nationally-ranked University of Chicago on Sunday. Lawrence showed defensive grit in restricting the 12th-ranked Maroons to a total of seven runs for the day. Marinac took the 3-0 loss in the first game, while Philbrick-Linzmeyer went 2-for-3 at the bat. In the second game Van Groll scored Lawrence’s sole run, as the U. of C. improved its record to 22-7 with the 4-1 victory.
After two more narrow non-conference losses to UW-Whitewater on Tuesday, the team needs to rebound at home this weekend against Carroll. The MWC South Division’s Lake Forest and Illinois College have already qualified for next week’s conference tournament. Lawrence, Ripon, and Beloit will battle through the weekend for the two Northern Division spots. Taking one of two from Carroll on Saturday would secure a tournament berth for the Vikes. Games start at 1 p.m.