Cardinals sweep St. Olaf to set up battle of unbeatens vs. Tommies
The Oles could only be so lucky.
Despite the potential of a battle of unbeatens Saturday when the Cardinals travel to St. Paul, Minn., for a conference twinbill vs. the Tommies, the Cardinals were clearly focused on the present, not the future, as SMU pounded out 25 hits and scored 18 runs en route to an 8-0, 10-2 double five-inning drubbing of the Oles at the SMU Field.
"Everyone knows how important those two games (against St. Thomas) are, but if we don't take care of business today, those games wouldn't mean nearly as much," said SMU coach Nikki Fennern, whose team has now won its first six conference games by a combined 47-10. "You can't afford to take any team lightly. We knew that St. Olaf had the ability to explode (offensively) at any time we just had to make sure to go out and play our game."
And play they did.
The Cardinals battered St. Olaf pitcher Bekki Hagen for eight runs on 14 hits in the opener, scoring three times in the bottom of the first inning two coming on Jenny Schipp's first home run of the season then icing the win with a five-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth.
And it was more of the same in the nightcap, as SMU once again jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead, and, after allowing the Oles to claw back in with two runs in the top of the third, put the game out of reach with three runs in the bottom of the third, one in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
"We played two complete games today," said Fennern, noting that along with their 25 hits, SMU pitchers held St. Olaf to just five hits three in Game 1 and two in Game 2 while the Cardinal defense was flawless in 10 innings. "We've come out of the gates strong, which is great, but we also know that we are heading into the heart of our conference schedule and the games are just going to keep getting tougher and tougher."
Beginning Saturday against the Tommies.
"We aren't going to get too caught up in all the hype," said Fennern of playing the Tommies, who won all four meetings vs. SMU a year ago beating the Cardinals 7-0, 8-2 during the regular season, than handing them 6-1 and 3-0 setbacks in the MIAC Tournament. "Obviously, when you get the chance to take on the national champions, it's hard not to get a little more pumped up, but we've got to just go out there and control what we can control and that's how we play.
"That's all we can do, and hopefully that will be enough."