The Duhawks have had a rough stretch of late, dropping their last four Iowa Conference matchups. After dropping a double-header to Simpson on Saturday, Loras fell to conference bottom-dweller Wartburg on Tuesday, 7-5 and 7-6.
In Game 1 against Wartburg, the Knights jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one. Senior Holly Klein lasted only 1.1 innings before sophomore Erin Hosch was called out to finish the game. The Duhawks attempted to rally late, scoring five runs in the last three innings, but ultimately fell, 7-5.
In Game 2, a four-run third inning gave the Duhawks a promising 6-3 lead. Wartburg struck back with two runs in the bottom of the inning and another in the sixth to tie the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, Wartburg’s first batter of the inning, Taylor Smola, hit a towering shot into left for the walk-off home run to take game 2, 7-6.
On Saturday, the Duhawks traveled to Indianola to take on the Simpson College Storm. The Duhawks dropped both games (2-1 and 5-3) while battling through the rain.
In Game 1, both pitchers dominated early on, keeping the game scoreless through three innings. After the Storm (25-8, 4-5 IIAC) broke through in the fourth, sophomore Danielle Stromert responded with a two-out double. She was then driven in on an RBI-single by first-year Miranda Chapman to even the score. The Storm responded with an RBI-double in the fifth, taking the 2-1 lead. The Duhawks were unable to answer back, as they fell 2-1.
The Storm came out swinging in Game 2, opening a 5-0 lead through the first four innings. With rain steadily coming down, the Duhawks looked to get on the board and start a rally. First-year Savannah Fowler ripped a double to the fence, and she was brought home when Stromert blasted a two-run homer to center field. This cut the deficit to only three, but the Duhawks would have to wait as the game went into a rain delay. Just over an hour later, the teams returned to the field to finish the contest.
As the Duhawks came to bat in the seventh, they still trailed by three and looked to pick up where they left off before the weather delay. Three straight walks loaded the bases with no outs and the Duhawks looked to be in business. Junior Ashlee Hoffman’s sacrifice fly cut the lead to two, but the comeback fell short as a pair of strikeouts ended the game, 5-3.
Despite the losses, Stromert continued her success at the plate. She went 3-for-7 with a home run and a double and extended her streak of reaching base to 32 consecutive games.
“She has been a huge spark for our offense all season,” said head coach Ashley Winter of Stromert. “She has great plate vision and is always someone we can count on to come through when we most need it.”
As it stands right now, the Duhawks find themselves in a battle for the sixth and final playoff spot. Loras is currently seventh in the Iowa Conference, two games behind Dubuque (14-22, 5-7 IIAC). With two conference games remaining, the Duhawks can get in if they sweep Coe this weekend and Dubuque loses their final two Iowa Conference games against top-ranked Luther. If this happens, the tie-breaker will come down to overall record, where the Duhawks currently have the advantage. If Loras loses either of their games against Coe this Saturday, they will be eliminated from playoff contention.
The Duhawks’ next test took place Wednesday at UW-Platteville. For the late result, visit Duhawks.com.