Cardinals Take Two From Macalester

Saint Mary’s Sports Information Director

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Finally.

After failing to score more than runs in each of its last six contests, the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota fastpitch softball team turned up the offensive heat a bit Monday against Macalester.

The Cardinals scored single runs in four of the game’s seven innings — and rode the right arm of sophomore pitcher Amber Chow (West St. Paul, Minn.) — as Saint Mary’s opened its Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader against the Scots with a 4-0 victory.

And four proved to be the Cardinals’ lucky number, as Saint Mary’s posted its second straight four-run effort — on four hits — in completing the sweep with a 4-2 victory in the nightcap.

The Cardinals got off to a quick start, scoring a solo run in their first at-bat. Hallie Schmeling (Onalaska, Wis.) — who launched her first collegiate home run in the bottom of the first inning of Game 2 last Saturday against St. Olaf — got the Cardinals’ offense jump-started with a lead-off double, moved to third on a one-out ground-out and scored on an Amber Chow (West St. Paul, Minn.) single.

Saint Mary’s would add a second run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Erin Sullivan (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.), before pushing that lead to 3-0 in the sixth, with Sullivan again delivering the RBI — this time lacing an RBI double to score Tara Nikolich (Chicago, Ill.), who opened the frame with a single to center.

The Cardinals tacked on another run in the seventh on an RBI groundout by Nikolich — and with Chow in complete control in the pitcher’s circle, four runs proved to be more than enough.

Chow limited the Scots to just three hits — all singles — while walking three and striking out three en route to her first shutout of the season and the second of her collegiate career.

Schmeling led the Cardinals’ 10-hit offensive attack in the opener, going 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while Chow chipped in two hits and Sullivan accounted for two of the team’s four RBIs.

The Scots turned the tables on the Cardinals to open Game 2, scoring once in the first inning and adding another solo run in the second to grab an early 2-0 advantage.

With one swing of the bat, and a Scot error, in the fourth, however, the Cardinals found themselves playing with the lead — for good.

Paige Gudmundson (Plainview, Minn.) led off the Saint Mary’s fourth with a walk and Justine Schultz (Winona, Minn.) followed with a single — the Cardinals’ first hit off Macalester pitcher Audrey Meade — and both scored on a Chow double to deep center. A two-out fielding Scot fielding error plated Saint Mary’s third run of the inning — and gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Macalester threatened in its half of the fourth, getting a lead-off double, but Amber Trendle (Chicago, Ill.) came on in relief of Chow and got a ground out and an inning-ending double play to squelch the threat.

The Cardinals took advantage of another Macalester error in the fifth to score their second unearned run and push their lead to two, 4-2.

Macalester gave Cardinal coach Jen Miller a few gray hairs in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with one out — but again Trendle wiggled out of the jam unscathed, inducing a pair of fly-ball outs.

Schmeling, Gudmundson, Schultz, and Chow all had one hit to account for the Cardinals four Game 2 hits, while Trendle got the pitching win, throwing four innings of six-hit, shutout ball in relief of Chow.

The Cardinals (3-7, 7-17 overall) are back in action, weather permitting, on Thursday, hosting Bethel in a 3:30 p.m. conference doubleheader at the Saint Mary’s Field.

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