NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Today at the Shanover Family Field, the host North Central College Cardinals defeated the Mount Mary University softball team in both games of their doubleheader. The Cardinals (20--6) defeated MMU 7-3 in game one and then 9-1 over the Blue Angels (4-15) in game two.
Adrianna Nester (Jr./Anaheim, Calif.) started in the circle and recorded the first hit for the Blue Angels in the day's opening game. Nester cracked the sole hit of the opening frame for the Blue Angels with a double to left center field.
The Cardinals scored two runs in the bottom half of the first inning. A leadoff walk scored on a one-out double by Rachele Belletini. Belletini came around to score two batters later on a single to left field.
In the bottom of the second, the Cardinals scored two unearned runs. Both runs scored without the benefit of a hit, and both came across with two outs.
The Blue Angels responded in the fourth inning after Haley Smalley (Jr./Columbus, Ind.) got the offense going with a one-out single. Senior Amelia Flint (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) followed that up with a double that set up a pair of runners in scoring position.
Aislinn Strusz (Fr./Aurora, Ill.) stepped to the plate the next at-bat, and laced a double to left center. That hit gave MMU's RBI leader her ninth and tenth RBI of the season and cut the NCC lead to two.
The Cardinals added one run each in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings making the score 6-2. Aislinn Strusz came through again for her third RBI of the day when Taylor Hienbuecher (Fr./Sycamore, Ill.) led off the sixth inning with a double, then Strusz hit her home with a single making the score 6-3.
The Cardinals added one more in the sixth inning when a one-out double followed by a triple by NCC made the score 7-3.
Nester was dealt the loss in the decision after going 6.0 innings giving up four hits and seven runs, three earned runs while striking out a pair.
Strusz led the offense for MMU in the first game going 2-of-3 from the plate with a double and all three RBIs. Haley Smalley went 2-of-4 from the plate as well for MMU.
Haley Smalley started as pitcher for the Blue Angels in game two. The Cardinals were able to strike first with a little small ball. A leadoff walk moved to third on the next at-bat then a sacrifice bunt made the score 1-0 for NCC. Then the Cardinals added their second run on an RBI triple in the bottom half of the second inning.
The Blue Angels were able to cut the deficit in half in the top half of the third inning. After Flint began the inning by getting on base by a walk, she stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Following a strikeout, Haley Johnson (Jr./Germantown, Wis.) drove the run in on a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher that made the game 2-1.
Then the Cardinals stretched out the lead in the bottom of the fourth with four unearned runs. Although only one MMU error, the Cardinals were able to capitalize on the miscue by rallying with four hits making it 6-1. Then in the fifth inning, NCC added three more unearned runs on a pair of MMU errors and three hits. With the score at 9-1, the game ended via the run-rule after five innings.
Smalley was given the loss in the decision and is now 2-7 on the year. She finished 4.1 innings in the circle surrendering nine hits, nine runs, 2 earned runs and struck out two batters.
The Blue Angels will return home tomorrow for a afternoon doubleheader against Silver Lake College. The two-game series previously scheduled for Infinity Fields in Waukesha, Wis. has now been moved to a 5:00 pm start time at STiKs Academy in Waukesha, Wis. For more information, visit MtMaryAthletics.com.