|Date:||March 28, 2017|
No. 9 Luther improved to 18-2 sweeping St. Mary's University (MN) this afternoon. The double header was the first two games played in front of Luther's new stadium. The Norse won game one 10-2 (5) and the nightcap 10-4.
In game one, St. Mary's jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, after Ashley Betzold and Kathi Opsahl hit back-to-back home runs. The two hits proved to be the only two Norse starter Samantha Bratland who give up the rest of the way. Bratland retired 13 of the next 15 batters she would face, that included nine strike outs, increasing her record to 9-1.
It did not take long for the Norse to regain the lead. Following a walk by Ashley Burrows and a single by Anna Strien, Natalie Stockman (2-for-3) drove in three of her game high four RBI, with a three-run blast over the center field fence in the bottom of the first. Strien (3-for-4) drove in two runs in the second on a double to right center. The Norse added three more runs in the fourth and two in the fifth to secure the victory. Blake Banowetz (2-for-4) and Sammie Harris (2-for-3) also had multiple hit games and drove in a run.
Game two started much like the first, as St. Mary's took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first frame. Brittney Birkhauser lead-off with a solo shot over the left field fence. Two batters later, Betzold sent a two-run blast over the left field fence.
Luther answered by producing 13 hits over the next six innings that led to 10 runs. Strien (3-for-4), Stockman (2-for-4), Bailey Victoria (3-for-4) and Banowetz (3-for-4) continued to swing hot bats. Banowetz drove in four runs thanks to a two-run home run in the second and RBI singles in the fifth and sixth frames. Strockman hit her third home run of the year, a two-run shot to center in the third. Victoria had two triples, one in the second and the other in the fifth that drove in a run. She also drove in a run on a single in the sixth.
Annie Versnik (9-1) went the distance in the circle. Versnik allowed three runs on four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three.
The two victories gives Luther a win streak of 12 in a row. St. Mary's fell to 6-10 overall.
The Norse will begin Iowa Conference play this Saturday, April 1, when they will travel to Nebraska Wesleyan University. This double header is scheduled to begin in Lincoln, Nebraska at 1:00 p.m.
Contact: David Blanchard, 563-387-1586