Before entering conference play, the Loras softball team traveled to Clermont, FL, where they participated in the PFX Spring Games. Over the duration of five days, the Duhawks played 11 games, leaving the spring games with six wins and five losses. Of the five losses, the Duhawks played St. Thomas, a team who is nationally ranked 14th in DIII. Against St. Thomas, the Duhawks were winning 2-1 up until the 7th inning when St. Thomas scored two runs, beating the Duhawks 3-2 with their fifth loss of the week.
Upon returning to Loras, the Duhawks opened conference play on April 7 against Wartburg College.
In game one versus the Knights, the Duhawks started off the game strong when junior Hannah Towns knocked a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning to change the score to 1-0. With an explosive start, the Duhawks added another run in the second inning to make the game 2-0 until the top of the fourth inning when the Knights offense answered after a defensive error and a 2-run home run by junior Mara Forsyth, changing the score to 4-2 Knights.
In the bottom of the fourth, Towns sparked the offense again starting off the inning with a single. Senior Savannah Fowler also hit a single, equaling two runners on base with junior Melanie Gerbig up to the plate. On a full count, Gerbig launched the ball deep over the center field fence for a 3-run home run, allowing the Duhawks to take the lead once again.
By the bottom of the sixth inning, the Duhawks were down by two but were able to answer, scoring five runs and taking back the lead with a comfortable score of 10-7. Senior pitcher Emma Corkill and the rest of the Duhawk defense left the Knights with no room to answer, winning their first conference game and home-opener 10-7.
In the second conference game of the day against Wartburg College, the Duhawks had two errors in the top of the first inning, which allowed the Knights to take advantage and start the game with a 3-0 lead. Not backing down, junior Ashley Lentine lead off the inning with a first pitch solo home run, changing the score to 3-1. Lentine leads the Duhawks in home runs with five this season and now has 11-career home runs.
Throughout the remainder of the game, the Knights’ ace held the Duhawks to a mere four hits, beating the Duhawks 5-1 and giving them their first conference loss.
Towns lead the Duhawks to a split for the day, tallying four hits, two RBIs, and her first collegiate home run. Another Duhawk making an influence in the offense, junior Shannon Coyle extended her hit-streak to eight games, which is leading the Duhawks at the moment.
Coming up, the Duhawks continue conference play this week with six conference games. Of the three double-headers, Loras heads to Pella, IA, to face Central College on Wednesday, April 11. The next day, Loras heads to Decorah, IA, to face fifth nationally ranked Luther College for a conference match-up. Finally for the week, the Duhawks will end week one of conference play at home for a Duhawk senior day against Buena Vista College on Saturday, April 14.