NORTHFIELD, Minn. — The Carleton College softball team picked up a pair of crucial late-season victories, sweeping visiting Hamline University, 5-4 and 10-6. Keelin Davis (So./Woodinville, Wash./Woodinville) picked up both victories for the Knights as well as going 4-for-8 with two RBI on the day.
Carleton (9-9 MIAC) has won six of its last eight games and sits just one win behind Hamline (10-6 MIAC) for the fourth playoff spot with two doubleheaders remaining. The nine conference wins are the most by the Knights over the last 10 seasons and the school record for MIAC victories (13) is still within reach.
“I'm really pleased with our team play today,” said Carleton head coach Amy Erickson. “Keelin had another solid performance and got some great defensive play behind her. It was great to see our bats come alive in game one and have some great clutch hitting.”
The Knights trailed the opener 3-1 in the fifth inning before stringing together five consecutive hits to tie things up. Davis singled home Jenny Ramey (Sr./Cottage Grove, Minn./New Life Academy) for the first run, and Holly Buttrey (Sr./East Thetford, Vt./Thetford Academy) continued her late-season surge with a RBI single to complete the rally.
After Hamline re-gained the lead, 4-3, in the top of the sixth, Carleton countered in the bottom of the inning. Caroline Duke (Fy./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) doubled home classmate Madi Emenheiser (Fy./Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal) for the tying run. Duke would later race home on Katrina Harper’s (Sr./Columbia Heights, Minn./Columbia Heights) two-out single to left field.
Davis made it stand up, as she added to her MIAC-best strikeout total with five K’s during the complete-game effort. She yielded four runs on nine hits and a walk.
A couple of four-run innings propelled the Knights to their 10-6 triumph in game two, and Davis came on in relief to toss 5.0 strong innings to complete the sweep.
Kaitlin Bagley (Sr./Duluth, Minn./Denfeld) and Nicole Magats (So./La Grange, Ill./Lyons Township) both drove home two runs for Carleton in the bottom of the second inning as the hosts jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
Hamline evened things up in the top of the third, pushing across four runs, but the Knights moved in front for good when Davis doubled and scored on Buttrey’s ground ball in the bottom of the frame.
Emenheiser tacked on a two-out RBI double in the fifth and the Knights pulled away with four runs in the sixth inning, a rally capped by Buttrey’s two-out, two-run single.
After coming out of the pen in the middle of the second, Davis surrendered a double to the first batter she faced then tossed four hitless frames before the Pipers solved her for a pair of two-out runs in the seventh. By that point the deficit was already too large, and the Knights closed out their third sweep over the last eight days.
Carleton will look to keep the momentum going when it hosts third-place Bethel University (11-5 MIAC) on Saturday, April 26 at 1 p.m. It will be senior day at Knights Field, the last time that Bagley, Buttrey, Harper, Ramey, and Jenny Forster (Sr./Ledyard, Conn./Ledyard) will don the maize and blue in front of the home crowd.