Nationally ranked No. 5 Luther and No. 9 Central collided this afternoon for an Iowa Conference double header here in the Oneota Valley. The Norse won game one 4-3, while Central won the nightcap 6-5.
In game one, Kelsey Rose was 2-for-2 with three RBI to lead the Norse attack. Rose gave the Norse a 2-1 lead after one, thanks to a two-run home run that cleared the tree line in left-center field.
Hiliary Pennington drove in what proved to be the game winner in the fourth. Pennington drove in pinch runner Sydney Galligan on an infield hit.
Becca Girvan (9-2) threw her ninth complete game of the season. Girvan allowed three runs on five hits, walked five and struck out nine.
The Norse victory snapped Central's 11-game win streak.
Miranda McCay pulled the Norse to within one, with a solo shot to left field. Rose and Carli Radil kept hopes alive with back-to-back two-out singles, but unfortunately the rally ended on a fielders choice ground ball that secured the Dutch victory.
"It is always fun to take your home diamond with your new team each year for the first time," commented Head Coach Renae Hartl. "It was great to see so many fans in the stands as well, despite the windy day.
I thought we definitely could have pitched it better. We gave up 12 free passes with nine walks and three hit batters and we are better than that as a pitching staff. I expect them to come back as a group and have a great week moving forward.
Defensively, we are fortunate that only a couple of our errors really hurt us. We need to play better in the field when our pitchers get us those nice routine ground balls. On the other hand, there were a lot of uncommon plays to execute today like rundowns and steal attempts to third base, things you don't practice every day because of their rarity in our game. We successfully took care of the ball in these situations.
Offensively, I was really proud of our contact. We out hit Central in both games and made them make a lot of great plays on defense. I thought we went up in each plate appearance with a plan to execute. Kelsey Rose had another great day and Miranda, Carli, and Hiliary all had big RBI's for us as well.
As we enter the second half of the season at 17-4, I think we still have a lot of room for growth in all areas of our game. I expect our defense and pitching to continue to mature and come together throughout the month of April and I have very high expectations for what this offense can and will do in the future."
The split gives Luther an Iowa Conference record of 2-2, 17-4 overall. Central improved to 3-1 in league play, 23-5 overall.
Luther travels to University of Dubuque tomorrow for a double header that will begin at 3:00 p.m.
Contact: David Blanchard, 563-387-1586