CLERMONT, Fla.- The Lawrence Technological (Mich.) University softball team notched 5-0 and 5-3 victories over Missouri Baptist University and Doane (Neb.) University, respectively, and fell 3-2 to sixth-ranked Marian (Ind.) University. Gina Barber (SO/Canton, Mich.) paced the Blue Devils with four runs in the three games.
In the second game of the day, Brittney Bult (JR/Brampton, Ontario) and Faith Barden(FR/Coleman, Mich.) combined efforts to throw a shutout against Missouri Baptist (2-4, 0-0). Bult started on the circle and pitched for five innings. She struck out four of the 19 batters she faced and allowed four hits and one walk. Barden pitched in relief of Bult for two innings in which she allowed no hits and no runs, and struck out four off six batters.
Barber and Cherilyn Banas (SR/Oxford, Mich.) paced the Blue Devil offense with two runs apiece, Brittany Wieland (SO/Alexandria, Va.) contributed with one. Lawrence Tech (9-1, 0-0) outhit the Spartans 9-4. Meredith Adams (JR/Portage, Mich. ) and Sarah Hige(FR/Northville, Mich.) led the way for the team with two hits off three at-bats. In addition, Adams drove in three runners. Haley Mazon (FR/Braidwood, Ill.) registered career-high nine putouts.
Bult opened the outing by striking out two Spartan batters. Lawrence Tech showed out at bottom of the inning and scored two runs in back-to-back plays to take the 2-0 lead. In the second inning, Wieland scored off a double by Barber. Then, Adams drove in Barber and Banas with a single to set the 5-0 lead. Bult and Barden shut down Missouri Baptist to hold on to the 5-0 win.
Sydney Schultz (JR/Commerce Twp, Mich.) toed the rubber for Lawrence Tech through the first two innings against Doane (6-6, 0-0). Schultz allowed two runs off six hits and sat down one of the 12 batters she faced. Sydney Coe (SO/Napoleon, Mich.) pitched for the last five innings of the outing allowing one run off five hits and two walks. Coe struck out three off 17 batters.
Barber led the Blue Devils for the second time on the day with two runs. Banas, Adams, and Kennedy Emmons (FR/Byron Center, Mich.) pitched in with one run each. In addition, Katie Cyster (SO/Wyandotte, Mich.), Adams and Barber drove in one runner apiece. LTU collected six hits and was led by Barber's two hits off three at-bats. Adams recorded game-high eight putouts.
The Tigers got their offense started with two runs in the first inning. In the bottom of the inning, a single by Adams drove in Barber to cut the two-run deficit to one. Emmons tied the contest in the second inning after an error by Doane. Lawrence Tech took the 3-2 lead in the third inning when Adams scored on a wild pitch. The Blue Devils sealed the win in the fourth inning with runs by Banas and Barber, giving LTU a 5-2. The Tigers tried building a comeback and scored a run in the sixth inning, setting the final score, 5-3.
The late comeback of Marian (6-2, 0-0) in the first game was a heartbreaker for LTU as it ended with the Blue Devil's eight-winning streak. Alexa Cherney (JR/Farmington Hills, Mich. ) started on the circle and pitched for the first four and a third innings. Cherney allowed two runs off nine hits and struck out two off the 21 batters she faced. Bult threw for one and two-thirds innings in relief of Cherney, in which she allowed one unearned run off two hits and zero walks.
Adams and Hige scored both Blue Devil runs in the fourth inning. Banas went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Jackie Mattingly (JR/Chino Hills, Calif.) and Barber paced the squad with four putouts each.
The outing had a slow start, as neither team was able to score over the first three innings. Lawrence Tech scored its two unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning after a dropped fly ball in the left field. The Knights tied the game at the bottom of the fifth inning and scored the winning unearned run in the sixth after an LTU error. Marian shut down Lawrence Tech in the top of the seventh inning to take the 3-2 victory.
The Blue Devils will be back in action on Wednesday, March 13 when they face off with Indiana University-South Bend at 1:45 p.m. and St. Ambrose (Iowa) University at 4 p.m.