With six games scheduled in the last week including four divisional matches, the Lawrence softball team lost five games and won one, with all but one game being decided by a large margin. Lawrence’s only close game in the grueling week of play, a tough 1-0 loss to first-place St. Norbert decided in the seventh inning, served as a microcosm of the week as a whole: all in all, the breaks did not go the Vikings’ way. In last Saturday’s home doubleheader against Beloit College (9-22, 5-6 MWC) the first game began in the worst possible manner, with the first four runners reaching on a total of one hit. After the dust had cleared, Beloit had scored seven runs in the first inning, with the Vikings committing three errors before they recorded a third out. The Vikings (13-11, 5-6 MWC) scored twice in the third inning on extra-base hits by Dani Cherry and Alex Goodson. However, the result of the game was never in question, with Beloit coasting while Lawrence tried to reach the end of the game in one piece. While sophomore pitcher Emily Perish did give up 13 hits in her complete-game losing effort, it is worth noting that only one of the Buccaneers’ nine runs was earned. Perish was not to blame for the defeat as much as a general sloppiness of play on the part of the Vikings as a whole – a malady to which Perish herself was not immune, making a three-base throwing error and hitting a batter in just her first inning of work. In the second game against Beloit, the Vikings continued their defensive sloppiness, but excellent pitching – a two-hit shutout by freshman pitcher Shannon Murray – and hitting rendered any defensive issues unimportant. In what would quickly turn into a 9-0 blowout win for Lawrence, the Vikings’ offense, sparked by a three-run homer by Goodson, rolled to an easy victory. Murray helped herself with a first-inning triple, and the game ended after just 59 minutes: Kim Tatro’s squad had rolled to a victory as easily as Beloit had in the first game of the doubleheader. After their split against the Buccaneers, the Vikings hosted the University of Chicago in the team’s Friends of Jaclyn Day. Both teams have adopted children with neurofibromatosis type 1 – the Vikings’ adoptee is eight-year-old Emma Broeniman – and the doubleheader was scheduled to raise money for brain tumor research. Unfortunately, the Maroons beat the Vikings 8-0 and 7-2, winning both games easily. The Vikings’ marathon week continued with a Wednesday home-and-home series against first-place St. Norbert. The first game, played in De Pere, was the Vikings’ closest match of the week, as the game remained scoreless into the bottom of the seventh inning. The pitcher’s duel, pitting Murray against St. Norbert’s Kayla Krueger, proved to be an exciting one, with only one runner reaching third base in the first six innings. However, the game was ended in dramatic fashion by St. Norbert third baseman Collette Ullmer, who led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk-off home run to give the Green Knights the win. In an unremarkable but still tense game, the Vikings had lost to first-place St. Norbert 1-0. The second game of the doubleheader, played in Appleton, showed the Vikings’ disappointment at losing such a close game to their divisional rival; Vikings pitchers Murray and Perish gave up 11 runs in the first inning, and St. Norbert (20-6, 10-0 MWC) coasted to a 12-1 victory. The only bright spot for the Vikings was a third-inning RBI single by Goodson, who currently leads the team in RBIs with 27. After their marathon week, which ended with a Thursday home game against Marian, the Lawrence squad has one day off before Saturday’s 1 p.m. game at divisional opponent Carroll University.