NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Chelsea Yost (Jr./Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) and Claire Willeck (Fy./Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) made big contributions at the plate and on the rubber to propel the Carleton College softball team to a sweep of University of Wisconsin-Stout in a non-conference doubleheader. The Knights scored three runs in the first inning of both games, never trailed, and posted victories of 7-2 and 6-2.
“Two complete games today for our team,” said Carleton head coach Amy Erickson. “Our pitchers threw well, defense was sound, and we swung the bats as well as we have all season. This has been a team that just keeps playing hard, learning and improving everyday, and it's starting to all come together at the right time.”
Today’s victories snapped a four-game slide for the Knights as they recorded their first sweep of the season. Carleton (8-25) had lost their last six meetings with the Blue Devils (15-19).
Yost tossed 5.0 innings of two-run ball to pick the win in the opener. She faced only four over the minimum and evened her record at 2-2.
Jenny Ramey (So./Cottage Grove, Minn./New Life Academy) led off the bottom of the first with a triple to right center and immediately scored on a squeeze bunt by Kelsey Parsons (Jr./Golden Valley, Minn./Hopkins). After a walk to Micaela LaRose (Fy./Waconia, Minn./Holy Family), Yost doubled high off the left-field wall putting runners on second and third. Kaitlin Bagley (So./Duluth, Minn./Denfeld) brought home a run with a sacrifice fly, and Willeck singled to center to account for the third run of the inning.
UW-Stout got on the board in the top of the fourth via Alison Gray’s two-run homer to left field, but any momentum gained by that play evaporated in the bottom of the frame as Carleton scored four times without the benefit of a hit.
All of the damage in that half-inning came with two out and no one aboard. Ramey worked a walk and advanced to third after a passed ball and a wild pitch. Parsons drew a walk as well, and LaRose was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Yost grounded to the pitcher, but the throw to first got away allowing two runs to score. In a case of déjà vu, Bagley also grounded to the pitcher, and once again the throw got away, permitting two more runs to come home.
LaRose came on in relief and retired all six batters she faced to close out the victory.
Game two saw Carleton race out to the early lead once again. With two out and nobody on base, consecutive singles by LaRose, Yost, Bagley, Willeck, and Brooke McManigal (So./Bothell, Wash./Singapore American School) gave Carleton the 3-0 lead.
The Blue Devils tallied their first run in the fourth with back-to-back one-out doubles by Gray and Hannah Sweet. When the Knights threw home in an attempt to get the lead runner, Sweet tried to advance to third. Carleton catcher Lindsay Szper (Fy./Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./Chadwick School), who had thrown out a would-be basestealer earlier in the contest, fired a strike to Bagley at third base, catching Sweet in a rundown.
The Knights tacked on three more runs in the sixth, including a RBI single by LaRose and a deep sacrifice fly off the bat of Yost.
While UW-Stout scored a meaningless run in the seventh, the Carleton defense continued its solid play. Following a missed bunt attempt, Szper caught a Blue Devil baserunner straying too far from third base for the second out of the inning.
On the day, Yost had four hits, three runs, an RBI, and was the winner in game one. Willeck collected three hits, two RBI, and the victory in game two as she scattered five hits over 4.0 innings of one-run ball. LaRose was 3-for-4 in game two.
Carleton will host Hamline University on Wednesday, April 25 at 3:30 p.m. It will be senior day at Knights Field, and weather permitting Knights Online will once again carry live audio of both games.