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Blue Angels Drop Tucson Opener

Blue Angels Drop Tucson Opener

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Mount Mary University softball team lost two games today at the Tucson Invitational. MMU lost game one against Cornell College 8-1 then the Millikin Big Blue defeated the Blue Angels 9-0 in five innings to close out the day.

In game one, the Blue Angels came out the aggressors on offense. Lauren Nylund (Fr./Muskego, Wis.) led off the Tucson Invitational reaching on a fielding error by the Rams. After MMU moved Nylund over to second base with two outs, Aislinn Strusz (Fr./Aurora, Ill.) hit a slow single to the left side, but MMU had to hold Nylund at third base where she was left stranded.

Hannah Harnsberger (Jr./Hillsboro, Ore.) started at pitcher for the Blue Angels in the first contest and gave up just one hit in her first 2.0 innings in the circle. In the bottom of the third inning, a leadoff walk turned into the first run of the game for Cornell.

MMU responded in the top half of when Taylor Hienbuecher (Fr./Sycamore, Ill.) cracked a single to left field to open the inning. The Blue Angels moved Hienbuecher over to second on a bunt attempt then over to third on a Strusz sacrifice bunt. With one out, Halley Smalley (Jr./Columbus) Ind.) hit a hard grounder to second which tied the game at 1-1.

Cornell came back in the bottom half of the sixth inning on the attack. The Rams batted around in the sixth sending 12 batters to the plate and producing seven runs off eight hits. The high scoring output for Cornell gave them an 8-1 lead and the eventual win.

Harnsberger (1-1) went 5.2 innings giving up seven earned runs off 11 hits and was struck with a loss in the decision. Harnsberger also chipped in on offense going 1-of-3 at the plate.

In game two, the Millikin University Big Blue notched a pair of runs in the very first inning against the Blue Angels. With Halley Smalley starting in the second game, the Big Blue used a walk and three singles to move in the game's first two runners.

Millikin pushed the lead out further when the Big Blue batted around the order in the second inning. The frame began with the lead-off runner reaching by an error and eventually scoring after a sacrifice bunt and a one-out bunt single scoring a runner from second base on an errant throw.

The inning continued with the Big Blue adding five more runs on a combined six hits. The three errors in the frame by the Blue Angels resulted in just one of those six total runs being unearned.

The top of the fifth inning began with a leadoff walk. Smalley responded to the base-by-balls by striking out the next two batters. The Big Blue came up with a two-out double to left field that scored a run making things 9-0 after three completed.

The Blue Angels kept Millikin off the scoreboard in the final two innings with Smalley limiting the Big Blue to just two hits in the final two frames.

Although hitless, four Blue Angels reached via a walk. Smalley (2-2) finished 5.0 innings striking out three and surrendering nine runs, eight earned runs off 12 hits.

MMU returns to the field tomorrow with three contests scheduled at the Tucson Invitational, the first game begins at 11:00 AM MST. Live stats for the Blue Angels final game of the day on Sun., Mar. 11 will be available at MtMaryAthletics.com.