Softball heads into final two series of the season


Photo by Rebecca Berreth

The Tigers played a full schedule of games during the past two weeks and went 7-7 during the span. They dropped their first five games, then won seven of their last nine.

“Our goal for every practice and every game is to improve in some way. So as long as we keep doing that””and as long as we see progress””then we know that we are giving it our all,” said junior outfielder Emily Fleischman.

The Tigers were swept in the four-game series they played against conference foe Texas Lutheran University March 27-28 at home.

“TLU is having a great year,” said head coach Brandi Crnkovic. “We did not take advantage of our opportunities and struggled making adjustments at the plate.”

March 27 they opened the series with a 9-0-shutout loss. In the second game of the doubleheader they fell 8-2.

March 28 they opened the day with another 8-2 loss to the Bulldogs. They finished the weekend coming close to a win, but fell just short, 5-2.

First year second baseman Sabrina Nieto and sophomore outfielder Hillary Hoffman each had two RBI’s during the weekend. Junior Kaci Wellik pitched two complete games during the weekend giving up 10 runs with seven strikeouts and only two walks.

March 30 they lost the first game 6-4 in 10 innings to No. 22 Louisiana College. In the second game the Tigers came out strong to get a 6-0-shutout win.

“We played so tough in that first game””errors cost us in the long run””but Katie Castillon pitched her heart out,” Crnkovic said. ” We knew we gave that game away and I think it motivated the girls in game two.”

As the first game went into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tigers were down 1-2 until sophomore outfielder Mackenzie Hill and senior outfielder Lauren Mercado doubled to left to tie it at 2-2. Sophomore pitcher Katie Glomb singled to left, which advanced Mercado to third, but the next two batters were retired sending it to extra innings.

They exchanged runs in the eighth, but three runs in the top of the 10th gave Louisiana College the 6-3 lead.

Castillon pitched all 10 innings of the first game giving up only nine hits and two earned runs. She also had four strikeouts and no walks.

March 31 they swept St. Olaf University getting an 8-0-shutout win in the first game and coming back in the seventh inning of the second game to win 5-4.

“Just that feeling of “˜Oh, we think we can do this’ and then realizing we can do this””it was great for our team to be able to have a great comeback like that,” Fleischman said.

St. Olaf held the 4-0 lead heading to the fifth inning.

Trinity scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth with RBI’s from Hoffman, and seniors Caitlynn Dykes and Brittany Haby. The score remained 3-4 until the bottom of the seventh. Dykes provided the tying run with a single through the right side, and Nieto sealed the win with another single down the right side.

The Tigers were 3-1 in their second four-game series of the season against Schreiner University April 3-4. They outscored the Mountaineers 32-9 over the four games.

“We relaxed in the batter’s box and went with the pitch. We are hitting our peak and we hope to carry it on to the rest of the season, “ Haby said.

April 3 they opened the series with a 3-0 win followed by a 7-3 loss.

April 4 they swept the final two games against Schreiner winning 12-0 and 14-6.

Ten Tigers had at least one RBI in the weekend series with Fleischman and Wellik leading the way with five each.

They also had a season high three home runs during the weekend with two from Dykes and one from Hoffman. Wellik was named the SCAC Pitcher of the Week for March 30-April 6 after pitching two shutouts and throwing 22 strikeouts all in 26 innings, pitched with a 1.35 earned-run average.

April 7 they split their doubleheader with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor at home. They lost the first game 9-4 and got the 5-2 victory in the second.

They loaded the bases in both the fifth and sixth innings but were only able to plate one run in each. In the seventh inning, Glomb blasted a two-run home run, but it was not enough to get the win for the Tigers. In the second game, Trinity had three runs in the third to extend their lead to 4-0.

“We had a tough schedule this year and with all of the rain-outs we are not where we thought we would be at this point,” Crnkovic said. “As long as we continue to strengthen our weaknesses, we should be right where we need to be for the SCAC Tournament.”

Next up for the Tigers is a four-game series with conference foe Centenary College at home.

The Tigers begin their games at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, April 11. The series continues at noon and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 12.