MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Lutheran College softball team withstood 12 straight Lakeland runs in game two of a doubleheader and hung on to sweep its conference foe Thursday afternoon at Warrior Softball Field. The Warriors (19-13, 9-5 NACC), who played as the visiting team, took game one 6-0 behind a three-hit shutout by Kendra Thomas (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) before claiming game two 20-16.
WLC crossed the plate nine times in the first inning of game two, all coming with two outs. Every Warriors starter recorded a hit and scored in the frame. Alicia Barbian (Waterford, Wis./Waterford) and Jinny Curtis (Muskego, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) each hit two-run singles in the inning, and Dayan Gacgacao (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) belted a two-run home run to left-center.
Lakeland (11-17, 3-11 NACC) pulled back two runs in the bottom of the first and one more in the second to cut the deficit to 9-3. The Warriors stretched the lead back out with five runs in the third. Barbian and Tara Degl'Innocenti (Lisle, Ill./Naperville North) knocked back-to-back RBI singles, Mindy Schalinske (Burlington, Wis./Shoreland Lutheran) delivered a two-run single, and Brittney Blazich (Bristol, Wis./Westosha Central) added a run-scoring base hit to give WLC a 14-3 advantage. Degl'Innocenti added a two-run single in the fourth to push the lead to 16-3.
The Muskies answered with five runs in the bottom of the fourth, capped by a two-run single from Brittany Jurek to pull to within 16-8. In the fifth, WLC was one strike away from earning a run-rule victory, but Mikayla Hilton ripped a two-run single to left and Ashley Hough followed with a three-run blast to left to trim the lead to 16-13. Jocelyn Yeager's two-run homer in the sixth pulled Lakeland to within a run.
With Lakeland threatening and daylight fading, the Warriors took the pressure off with four runs in the top of the seventh. Blazich smacked a two-run triple and Morgan O'Hanlon (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) and Abby Wichgers (Muskego, Wis./Muskego) produced run-scoring singles. The Muskies added an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh before Thomas finished the game with a strikeout.
Blazich was 4-for-6 with two triples, two runs, and three RBI, while Degl'Innocenti was 3-for-6 with two doubles, two runs, and four RBI. Eight WLC hitters recorded multiple hits and eight hitters also scored multiple runs. Thomas (16-8) gave up eight runs, but only three earned, in 5.2 innings for the victory.
Sami Jo Williams was 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBI while Hough was 3-for-5 with a run and five RBI for Lakeland. Melissa Noll (5-4) allowed six runs in 0.2 innings for the loss.
Game one was highlighted by a dominant pitching performance from Thomas. The senior hurler held the Muskies to three hits, struck out five, and walked none. After allowing a leadoff hit to Williams in the bottom of the first, Thomas retired 18 straight batters until Lakeland hit a pair of singles in the seventh.
WLC provided all the run support Thomas would need in the first inning, as Emily Sievert (Mukwonago, Wis./Mukwonago) hit a run-scoring single, Curtis scored on a wild pitch, and another run came home on an error to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead. The Warriors added insurance in the seventh, as O'Hanlon swatted an RBI single and Sievert drove in a pair with a single to make it 6-0.
Sievert was 2-for-3 with a run scored and three RBI, Curtis was 3-for-4 with two runs, and Blazich was 2-for-4 with two runs in game one.
Jasmine Suarez (6-8) gave up six runs, five earned, in six innings for the loss.
Wisconsin Lutheran hosts Marian (10-16, 7-5 NACC) in a NACC doubleheader Saturday at noon at Warrior Softball Field.