Softball team gains experience in Tucson

The Duhawks traveled to Arizona for the Tucson Invitational Games, where they would take part in eight games over the weekend.

After opening the weekend on a two-game winning streak, Loras (5-7) dropped five of their next six games to finish 3-5 in Arizona.

The Duhawks opened play against the Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets in a Thursday morning matchup. Senior ace Holly Klein dominated on the mound early, with the Duhawks defense helping her out. In the third inning, the Yellow Jackets had a runner on second and were looking to strike first. With one out, the runner took off for third but senior catcher Nora Zerante cut her down. The Duhawks held Baldwin Wallace hitless for the rest of the game.

Still scoreless heading into the seventh, the Duhawks knew that they needed their offense to come up big. With runners on the corners and one out, sophomore Cate Paulsen stepped up to the plate. After a perfect bunt and an error, both runners came across the plate to give the Duhawks the 2-0 lead. Junior Julie Kistner padded the lead with an rbi single and the game headed to the final half with Loras on top 3-0. Holly Klein returned to the mound and completed her shutout performance with a 1-2-3 inning and the Duhawks took this game, 3-0.

The Duhawks started day two with an early morning matchup against Cedar Crest. Another complete-game pitching performance, this time by junior Makaila Haase, and explosive bats led the Duhawks to a 10-1 victory.

Head Coach Ashley Winter was excited to see the pitching dominance the Duhawks displayed in their first two games.

“Our pitching really set the tone for the rest of the game, those kind of performances are going to help us as we move forward,” Winter said.

However, the Duhawks pitching and offense had no answer in their next two games, falling to Alfred and Staten Island, 12-5 and 8-0, respectively.

Day three began with a morning matchup against the Edgewood Eagles. The Duhawks took the lead early with an rbi single by freshman Regan Wolverton, holding a 1-0 lead after the first. The lead didn’t last, as Edgewood responded with six runs in the second. The Eagles offense continued their onslaught, ending in a 16-5 win.

In game two, the Duhawks had a rematch with the Alfred College Saxons. After scoring in the opening frame, the Saxons held the 1-0 lead until the fourth. Senior Katie Serpico came to the plate for the Duhawks with the bases loaded and blasted a pitch over the left field fence for her first grand slam of the season. With the slam, the Duhawks took a 4-1 lead.

Unfortunately for the Duhawks, they could not hold onto their lead. The Saxons pushed across four runs over the next four innings and took the 5-4 lead into the seventh inning. After an insurance run in the top half, the Saxons led 6-4 as the Duhawks looked to extend the contest. Despite their best efforts, the offense could not get anything going and Loras fell, 6-4.

The final day of competition brought two more games, the first against the Marian Sabres. Klein returned to the mound and struck out a season-high six batters. Her second complete game shutout of the weekend, along with timely hitting on offense, allowed the Duhawks to take game one, 4-0.

Game two was a rematch with the Edgewood Eagles, looking to avenge their loss on Friday. A shaky start allowed the Eagles to hold a 4-0 heading into the fifth, with the Duhawks desperate for offense. With two on, Wolverton stepped up and drove in a run to cut the lead to three. However, the Eagles were able to push their lead back to four and hold off a rally, ending the game 5-1.

The Duhawks completed the weekend with a 3-5 record, pushing their overall record to 5-7. With five days off now, the Duhawks have time to prepare for a trip to Mount Vernon on Friday. Loras will take on Cornell College in a doubleheader, starting at 4 p.m.

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