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ISSUE 121 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/2/2008

Softball completes season with sweep

By Pat Slack
Contributing Writer

Friday, May 2, 2008

A bizarre week of late April snow, a change in venue, a postponement and a cancellation concluded with the St. Olaf softball team sweeping Carleton College 9-5 and 8-5 on Monday to wrap up their regular-season schedule.

The unseasonably cool weather did little to tame the Oles' hot bats as they pounded out 31 hits to produce 17 runs in the doubleheader.

Third baseman Ali Berens '10, second baseman Ellen Larson '10 and catcher Emily Hennig '08 all homered in the opener, with Berens and pitcher Katie Truax '11 each contributing three hits. In addition to her offensive success, Truax went the distance on the mound to pick up the win and improve her record to 9-6. Larson broke open a close game in the fifth inning with a three-run homer to spark a five-run rally.

Another strong team effort led the Oles in their season finale as seven players supplied hits and three pitchers combined to slow down the Carleton offensive attack. Berens again had three hits, this time joined by Hennig and center fielder Kjirsten Speer '11.

It was a back-and-forth battle as Carleton responded with runs of their own in three of the four innings the Oles scored in. An errorless defensive ballgame helped the Oles pitching staff, with Erin Johnson '09 pitching the middle three innings to pick up the win. Jenny Beiersdorf '08 started for the Oles and Natelee McNeff '11 recorded the final six outs to close the ballgame.

Head coach Ruthie Neuger was impressed with the team's effort to close the season.

"It was our seniors last day and they did what they needed to get the wins," Neuger said. "They knew they wanted it and they did what had to be done both defensively and offensively."

The week began with a doubleheader Thursday against Concordia College-Moorhead that was moved to the Rosemount Dome because of poor weather. The Oles dropped a tough 7-6 game in the opener before responding with a resounding 13-5 victory in the nightcap.

Concordia won the first of two in extra innings, scoring two runs in the eigth inning to break a 5-5 tie. St. Olaf would load the bases with one out in the bottom of the eigth but could only manage one run, falling just short in their comeback bid. Berens homered twice in the ballgame and Hennig also knocked one out to power the Ole offense, while Truax went 7 1/3 innings on the hill, allowing five earned runs in a close defeat.

The team rebounded strongly in the second game, blasting 13 hits on their way to winning in six innings because of their 8-run lead. Truax guided the offense with four runs batted in while right fielder Jordan Wilson '11 and Hennig each knocked in three. McNeff was excellent in relief, recording 2 2/3 innings of shutout ball to notch the win.

The Oles finish the regular season with a 17-17 record overall, 10-12 in the MIAC. They will have to wait for the results of Bethel's doubleheader Thursday against St. Catherine to know whether or not they will reach the MIAC playoffs.

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