As the Duhawks began their 2015 campaign, they found themselves in Minneapolis for a pair of games against the St. Catharine Wildcats at the Augsburg Dome. The Duhawks hoped to start the season on a high note away from home. The Duhawks left Minneapolis even at 2-2, after they found themselves on opposite ends of a pair of sweeps.
Game one was scoreless into the third when the Wildcats moved the go-ahead run to the third. St. Kate’s top hitter stepped to the plate with two outs and Duhawk senior Holly Klein staring her down from the circle. With the help of senior catcher Nora Zerante, Klein painted the corner and left the batter staring to end the inning. First-year Savannah Fowler gave the Duhawks their first hit of the day with an infield single in the top of the sixth. However, she was stranded at second as the Duhawks could not capitalize.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Wildcats had a runner in scoring position with two outs and Loras was looking to end the threat. A ground ball was seemingly just what they needed, but the throw was the off the mark. The runner came around and scored to put St. Kate on top, 1-0. The Duhawks had one final shot at evening the score, but the bats were silent, and the Duhawks fell, 1-0.
The Duhawks came out swinging in game two, scoring the first run when senior Katie Serpico drove in sophomore Dani Strobert with an RBI single. The Duhawks held the 1-0 lead until the Wildcats’ bats came alive. After putting up four in the fourth inning, St. Kate’s added two more runs to lead 6-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Head coach Ashley Winter decided to make some changes before the final inning.
“I wanted to shake up our lineup and get more players involved,” Winters said. “We have a lot of versatility that I knew we could utilize.”
The Duhawks fed off these changes, with first-year Miranda Chapman started the rally with a shot back at the pitcher. The Duhawk dugout came alive and the energy spread to the field, as they loaded the bases for Serpico.
The Duhawks’ top offensive threat saw four straight balls, bringing home Chapman and cutting into the Wildcat lead. Junior Makaila Haase kept the momentum going by driving in another run on a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and second, first-year Bria Lenten ripped the first pitch she saw to the fence. The two-run single brought the Duhawks within one and forced a pitching change for St. Kate’s. The lengthy conference on the mound took away the momentum from Loras as Zerante struck out looking, giving the Wildcats a 6-5 victory and a doubleheader sweep.
The Duhawks hoped to turn their luck around on Saturday morning, as they began a doubleheader against Crown College. Game one began with Crown taking a 1-0 lead after the first, due to a few miscues by the Duhawks. In the second, the Duhawks had runners on second and third with sophomore Cate Paulsen at the plate. A hard shot to third was misplayed and allowed the Duhawks to even the score at one. The offense continued as Zerante roped a bases-clearing double to put the Duhawks ahead, 3-1. Loras added insurance runs in the third and fifth to finish off Crown with a 7-1 win.
In game two, the Duhawks continued their offensive display by taking control early on, going ahead 3-0 after two innings. Makaila Haase was dominant on the mound, keeping Crown off the board until the fifth. A pair of errors by the Duhawks allowed Crown to break the shutout, cutting the lead to two. After an insurance run by the Duhawks, they headed into the seventh inning with a 4-1 advantage. After her impressive performance, Haase stepped up to the plate and blasted a solo shot to center to extend the lead to 5-1.
First-year pitcher Emma Corkill took control on the mound and struck out the side to complete the sweep.
The Duhawks will take a break from play before heading to Tuscon, Arizona, to compete in the Tuscon Invitational. Their first of eight games in the Arizona heat will be against Baldin Wallace on Thursday.