TUCSON, Ariz. - The Wisconsin Lutheran College softball team opened its season with a thrilling comeback victory over Baldwin Wallace in extra innings before a late rally fell short in its second game against Dickinson Sunday at the Tucson Invitational Games at Lincoln Park.
WLC (1-1) and Baldwin Wallace were tied 4-4 heading to the eighth inning in the Warriors' season opener. The Yellow Jackets (1-1) scored a pair of runs in their half of the inning to grab a 6-4 advantage, but the Warriors would not be denied in their last at-bat. WLC loaded the bases with nobody out, and with one out Jinny Curtis (Muskego, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) delivered an RBI single to trim the deficit to a run. Tara Degl'Innocenti (Lisle, Ill./Naperville North) was hit by a pitch to tie the game. With two outs and the bases still full, Alicia Barbian (Waterford, Wis./Waterford) was hit by a pitch to bring home Mindy Schalinske (Burlington, Wis./Shoreland Lutheran) with the game-winning run.
The Warriors fell behind 4-1 in the third inning, but responded in the bottom of the frame as Degl'Innocenti was hit by a pitch and Barbian singled to drive home runs and bring WLC to within 4-3. Curtis tied the game with a two-out single to left in the fourth.
Kendra Thomas (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) (1-0) struck out a career-high 12 batters while allowing six runs, four earned, in eight innings for the victory. The 12 strikeouts are tied for fourth-most in a game in school history. Curtis was 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, and Barbian and Degl'Innocenti also drove in two runs apiece.
Lauren Feciuch was 1-for-4 with two RBI for Baldwin Wallace, while Alison Fiorucci, Brittany Lightel, and Mackenzie Brua recorded two hits apiece. Tabitha Murray (0-1) also struck out 12 batters in the loss.
In the second game of the day, Dickinson (1-1) jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the top of the third, but WLC used an impressive rally to get back into the game. In the bottom of the third, Brittney Blazich (Bristol, Wis./Westosha Central) smacked an RBI triple to center and came all the way around to score after a throwing error on the play.
The Warriors tacked on a run in the fourth thanks to a wild pitch, then used clutch two-out hitting to chip away at the lead in the fifth. With two down, Degl'Innocenti and Barbian knocked back-to-back RBI singles, and Morgan O'Hanlon (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) followed with a run-scoring triple to trim the deficit to 10-7. After the Red Devils got a run back in the top of the sixth, Emily Sievert (Mukwonago, Wis./Mukwanago) laced a two-run single to right to pull the Warriors to within 11-9 after six. Dickinson added two more in the seventh to finally put away WLC.
Blazich was 4-for-4 with four runs scored in the game and Sievert was 2-for-4 with a game-high three RBI. Degl'Innocenti and O'Hanlon added two hits apiece. Libby Larsen (Menasha, Wis./Menasha) (0-1) took the loss as eight WLC errors resulted in six unearned runs.
Nicole Piet was 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Red Devils, and Stacie Maring and Casey Ditzler chipped in with three hits apiece. Micki Crouch (1-0) allowed six runs, four earned, in four innings for the win.
Wisconsin Lutheran plays a pair of games in Tucson Monday, when it faces Alfred at 5:30 p.m. CST before a rematch with Dickinson at 8 p.m.