Lawrence Softball sweeps home opener

After a trip down to Florida during spring break for the start of their season, the Lawrence University Softball team returned home to Wisconsin for an action-packed week of games. They played three double-headers this week starting on Wednesday, March 29 with the Lady Vikings playing host to the Rockford University Regents.

The Lady Vikings made the most of the first inning, getting off to a quick start as they scored three runs. After the lead-off batter freshman Amanda Karnatz was hit by a pitch and then stole second, senior Rheya Upadhyaya singled, allowing Karnatz to score. Later in the inning, with runners on second and third, sophomore Maddie MacLean doubled, driving in the two runners, giving Lawrence a 3-0 lead after the first inning. The Lady Vikings then added to their lead to 5-0 in the second inning on singles by Upadhyaya and MacLean which each drove in a run. Rockford came back in the top of the third inning cutting the Lady Vikings’ lead to just two runs. In the bottom of the inning, Lawrence added three more runs, making the score 8-3 on an error by Rockford and two fielder’s choice. Rockford once again cut into the Lady Vikings’ lead on a three-run homer in the top of the fourth, but junior Kori Looker answered with her own homer in the bottom of the inning as Lawrence maintained a 9-6 lead. The Lady Vikings stretched their lead to 11-6 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly to center by MacLean and a double by sophomore Sofie Pedersen. Rockford did add one run in the seventh inning, but Lawrence took the win in the first game of the double header 11-7. MacLean pitched all 7 innings allowing only 7 hits, walking just 3, and striking out 7.

In the second game of the double-header, Lawrence once again grabbed the early lead scoring a run in the first inning. Rockford then evened the score at 1-1 in the second. In the bottom of the third, MacLean drove in Upadhyaya giving the Lady Vikings a 2-1 lead. Then, in the fourth, Karnatz hit a two-run double to extend the Vikings lead to 4-1. Rockford would once again tack on a run in the fifth, but the Lady Vikings were able to hang on and win the game 4-2 completing the double-header sweep. Freshman Emilia Jackson was at the mound for Lawrence pitching all 7 innings giving up only 5 hits while walking 4 and striking out 4.

On Saturday, April 1, the Lady Vikings played host to Finlandia for another double-header. In the first game, Finlandia took the early lead scoring two runs in the first inning. The Lady Vikings took the lead back in the third on a double by senior Marisa Thackston that drove in two and a Finlandia error making the score 3-2 Lawrence. The Lady Vikings then extended their lead to 7-2 in the third on another Finlandia error and a three-run homer by Looker. In the fifth, Karnatz had a ground out runs batted in (RBI) to give the Lady Vikings an 8-2 lead. Finlandia cut into the Lawrence lead scoring one in the top of the sixth, but bottom of the inning Looker had a RBI-double making the score 9-3. In the seventh, Finlandia would add another 2 runs, but the Lady Vikings took home the 9-5 victory. MacLean pitched all seven innings giving up twelve hits, walking four and striking out three.

In the second game of the double-header, Lawrence jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning as Karnatz stole home and freshman Lexi Angemi had an RBI-single into left field. The next run scored was by Finlandia in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Penderson had a sacrifice fly to center allowing sophomore Sophie Carter to score giving the Lady Vikings a 3-1 lead. No more runs would be added and Lawrence completed the double-header sweep with the 3-1 win. Jackson pitched all innings of this game facing 33 batters giving up five hits, walking five and striking out six.

Finally, on Sunday, April 2, the Lady Vikings traveled to Beloit for another double header. In the first inning of the first game, Lawrence took an early 1-0 lead on a run scored by Karnatz. In the third, Beloit evened the score at 1-1. At the end of seven innings the score was still knotted at one so the game headed into extra innings. Finally, in the twelfth inning, Beloit scored to win the game. MacLean pitched the entirety of the game giving up twelve hits, two walks and striking out six.

In the second game of the day, Lawrence got the scoring started in the second inning. Thackston had an RBI single and Upadhyaya was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded giving the Lady Vikings a 2-0 lead. In the third, MacLean hit an RBI single to center making Lawrence’s lead 3-0. Beloit scored their first run in the third to cut into the Lady Vikings’ lead. In the fourth, Lawrence added to runs to make the score 5-1 on a Looker double that scored two and a sacrifice fly by MacLean. In the seventh, the Lady Vikings extended their lead on a double by Upadhyaya that scored three to make the score 9-1. Lawrence would go on to win the game 9-1. Jackson pitched all seven innings giving up six hits, walking three, and striking out eight.

With these games, Lawrence’s record improves to 10-8 (1-1 MWC). The double-header at Beloit marks the start of their conference season where the team hopes to be in the top four in the final conference standings to qualify for the conference tournament. Next weekend, the Lady Vikings will play host to Grinnell College on Saturday, April 8 and Cornell College on Sunday, April 9 for two double-headers.