MILWAUKEE – The Mount Mary University softball team and Finlandia University Lions split their two-game series today at Neumann Family Softball Field. The Lions (19-12) took game one by 10-2, then the Blue Angels (9-17) flipped the script and defeated the opposition 9-6 in the second game.
In the first contest, the Lions jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when back-to-back pitches from starter Hannah Harnsberger (Fr./Hillsboro, Ore.) hit the consecutive batters setting up the big inning.
MMU responded in the bottom of the first with an RBI-double from Katie Arce (Fr./Cypress, Calif.) which scored the first runner, then a bang-bang play at the plate cost MMU the tying run. At 2-1, the Blue Angels would never be able to get any closer in the remaining six innings.
The Lions scored two runs in the top of the second and third innings, and then further separated things in the sixth when Finlandia scored three more runs off two walks and three hits.
Hannah Harnsberger was dealt the loss in game one and is now 4-9 on the year. The rookie slinger struck-out two, surrendering 13 hits, 10 runs with eight of those being earned. Harnsberger led the offensive charge as well going 2-of-3 from the plate with an RBI and a double.
The Blue Angels scored their two runs off seven team hits, and left eight runners stranded in six innings of play. Lion Pitcher Kassandra Aliva is now 12-6 on the season after she finished the complete game striking out one and walking a pair.
MMU came back in game two to get an early lead. Jess Runge (Sr./Freedom, Wis.) got the RBI on the unique two-out fielder's choice, which gave MMU the 1-0 lead. That piggybacked with starting pitcher Adrianna Nester (Fr./Anaheim, Calif.) going the first 2.1 innings without giving up a hit, established MMU early in the contest.
Although the Lions tied things in the third, MMU quickly got the lead back in their portion of the third when an errant throw from Lion backstop Karri Johnson scored Katie Arce from third base. Then Nester got the job done herself as she singled up the middle scoring Madison Ledda (So./Tracy, Calif.) from third base. The Blue Angels added two more runs in the inning making things 5-1 after three completed.
The Lions chipped away in the fourth and fifth innings, but MMU received two clutch insurance runs with an RBI-single from Sidnee Turnage (Fr./Hesperia, Calif.) and a two-out RBI-single through the left side of the infield from junior Payton Hintz (Almond, Wis.).
Stephanie Norman (Fr./Noblesville, Ind.) came in relief in the seventh inning when a lead off hit-by-pitch and subsequent single from starter Nester put the pressure on MMU. Although allowing both runners to score, Norman got out of the jam with two groundouts and a fly out to give MMU their ninth win of the season. That win ties the program's single season wins record.
Nester got the win and is now 4-6 on the year. She tied her season high of six strikeouts while giving up nine hits and six earned runs: five of Nester's strikeouts caught the batters looking.
Turnage and Norman led the 16 team hits for MMU as they each went 3-of-4 from the plate, each with an RBI.
MMU will turn around and get things going tomorrow at Neumann Family Softball Field starting at 12:00 pm when North Central College (15-15) comes to play. The Saturday afternoon doubleheader will have live statistical coverage available at mtmaryathletics.com.