End much better than beginning as Cardinals close out tourney with 2 wins
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. It took a little longer than they would have liked, but the Saint Mary's University fastpitch softball team finally notched its first win of the season Sunday afternoon.
And the Cardinals did it in impressive fashion.
After dropping its first four games of the NFCA Lead-Off Classic managing just five runs in falling to Coe (5-4), Trinity (8-0), Wheaton (12-1) and William Patterson (2-0) SMU's offense finally shifted out of first gear, erupting for 10 runs in just five innings of work, as the Cardinals routed Muskingum 10-0.
Not about to get too complacent following their streak-snapping victory over the Muskies, the Cardinals made it 2-for-2 Sunday, getting a complete-game, two-hit performance from pitcher Megan Wallisch (Loveland, Colo.) en route to a 5-3 victory over Maryville in the consolation championship game of the Bronze Bracket.
The Cardinals, who went 1-1 vs. .Muskingum during the 2001 season beating the Muskies 10-1 in that year's NFCA Lead-Off Classic, only to fall to the eventual national champs 2-0 at the NCAA Division III World Series scored early and often against the Muskies Sunday, plating two runs in the first, five in the second, one in the third and two in the fifth.
Nikki Jung (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) did most of the damage vs. Muskingum, belting a second-inning grand slam and scoring three times. Jenna Johnson (Menomonie, Wis.) also drove in four runs, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Cassie Otte (Randolph, Minn.) was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
SMU jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the consolation championship game against Maryville, scoring three times in the first inning two coming on a two-run double by Jung. Maryville knotted things up with three runs in the top of the third, but SMU regained the lead in its half of the third, getting an RBI double from Hanna Schmitt (Rosemount, Minn.) and an RBI single from Otte.
The Cardinals (2-4 overall) return to action March 23-24, traveling to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to take part in the Coe Invitational.