ST. PETER, Minn. – The opportunities to win were there in both games, but the Carleton College softball team was unable to knock off conference co-leader Gustavus Adolphus College, falling 7-5 and 2-1. The setbacks put the Knights on the brink of being eliminated from playoff contention.
The day started positively for Carleton (6-23, 5-11 MIAC) as the visitors scored five times in the opening inning of game one. Chelsea Yost (Jr./Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) delivered a big two-run double, and the other three runs came around on groundballs by Kaitlin Bagley (So./Duluth, Minn./Denfeld), Kelsey Parsons (Jr./Golden Valley, Minn./Hopkins), and Claire Willeck (Fy./Eden Prarie, Minn./Eden Prarie)
Gustavus (23-7, 15-1 MIAC) got a run back in the bottom of the frame, smacked a two-run roundtriper in the second, and tied the contest with another two-run home run to start the third inning.
The Knights had chances to score late in the contest but could not cash them in. Jenny Ramey (So./Cottage Grove, Minn./New Life Academy) opened the top of the fifth with a walk and a stolen base, but Gustie starting pitcher Kate Rentschler successfully walked the tightrope and escaped by striking out the side. An inning later, Parsons singled and was at second with one out but found herself stranded as Carleton failed to get the ball out of the infield.
The Gusties moved in front with a two-out run in the fifth and added an insurance run in the sixth to secure the 7-5 victory.
Game two was a pitchers’ duel between Willeck and Gustavus’ hurler Sarah Rozell. Carleton threatened in the opening frame after Micaela LaRose (Fy./Waconia, Minn./Holy Family) doubled to put a pair aboard with one out, but Rozell fanned the next two batters.
The hosts broke through with a walk, groundout, and RBI single in the second inning. Willeck worked out of jams in third, fourth, and fifth frames, each time stranding a Gustie in scoring position to keep it a one-run game. Carleton finally knotted the score in the sixth when Ramey tripled to right field and scored on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the seventh, the winning run came home when the Knights were unable to cleanly field a grounder on the infield. This was Carleton’s sixth one-run loss of the season.
The Knights will be home for three of their final four doubleheaders, beginning with a visit by University of Wisconsin-Stout on Tuesday, April 24 at 3:30 p.m.