This weekend couldn’t have went any better for the Iowa Wesleyan softball team. The Tigers went 6-0, sweeping three-straight doubleheaders at Mapleleaf Athletic Complex to move to 10-0 at home this season and put themselves in a good position with just two weeks left in the season.
IW took down Lincoln College 4-3 and 6-3 on Friday night, picked up two huge SLIAC wins, 3-2 and 9-2, over Greenville University on Saturday and closed the weeked out with 3-0 and 5-3 wins against St. Louis College of the Pharmacy.
IW scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take an early lead against Lincoln College in game one Friday. The Lynx scrapped back to tie it with a run each in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but a sacrifice fly from McKenzie Woolery gave the Tigers the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth.
Woolery was 2-3 with two RBIs to lead the offense. Morgan Christner was 2-3 with two runs, and Alex Eyman went 2-3 with an RBI.
Christner got the win in the circle, giving up three eraned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out eight batters over seven innings of work.
IW fell behind early in game two, but scored six innings in the bottom of the second to take a 6-1 lead. Lincoln added a couple of runs later in the game, but couldn’t stage a comeback.
Kayla Ford was 1-4 with two RBIs in the win. Allison Daum went 2-3 with an RBI. Ashley Machholz went 2-4 with an RBI, and both Emma McDanel and McKenzie Copher had RBIs.
McDanel got the win in the circle, going seven innings and giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out four.
The biggest doubleheader was on Saturday when the Tigers faced Greenville University in two games that had a big impact on the top of the SLIAC standings. Game one was the most exciting of the two, with Ford hitting a walk-off double to win the game.
Greenville scored two runs in the first inning to take an early advantage. An RBI-single by Eyman in the fourth cut the lead to 2-1, but IW still entered the seventh inning down by one.
Woolery opened the bottom of the seventh with a single, and Allison Daum followed with a single of her own to put runners on first and second. McKenzie Copher came up after Daum and bunted both runners over for the first out of the inning.
Emmy Rodruigez, the ninth batter in the order, came through with the game-tying single up the middle. One batter later, Ford sent the game-winner to left-center, hitting the fence in one bounce.
Head coach Mike Hampton talked after the doubleheader about the clutch hits in the seventh, especially by the bottom of his lineup.
“On any day, they pick up each other,” Hampton said. “We’ve talked a lot about that. On any given day, someone else can get the big hit. I have pretty good confidence with all of our hitters.”
Ford finished 2-4 to be the only two-hit Tiger of the game. Christner threw a complete game in the circle, giving up two earned runs on three hits and one walk, while striking out nine.
IW parlayed the momentum from game one into game two, knocking out the Greenville starting pitcher after just four batters. McDanel gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead on an RBI-double and Christner blasted a two-run home run to left to make it 3-0.
Greenville scored a run in the top of the second, but the IW offense stayed hot, scoring one each in the third and fourth, and three in the fifth to take an 8-1 advantage.
Both teams scored one run in the sixth inning, and Greenville went down quietly in the seventh, giving the Tigers a sweep and allowing them to jump Greenville in the standings to get back into the top four.
Christner had a huge game in the batters box, going 4-4 withtwo RBIs and tworuns scored. Daum and Eyman each had two hits and two RBIs. McDanel went 2-3 with an RBI and three runs scored.
McDanel had a good outing in the circle. She gave up two earned runs on eight hits and no walks, while striking out four over seven innings of work.
“We score the three runs right away, and then we just kept pecking away, pecking away,” Coach Hampton said about game two. “We played good defense (and) Morgan and Emma did a fantastic job in the circle. This is truly a team victory.”
The Tigers dominated game one on Sunday. Christner threw a two-hit shutout, while striking out six batters and walking just three. Ford went 3-4 with an RBI, and both Christner and Eyman had one RBI.
The Tigers fell behind 2-0 in the top of the fourth but immediately stole the lead in the bottom half. Christner hit an RBI double, and Eyman blasted a two-run homer.
Copher made it 5-2 with a two-run bomb in the sixth. STLCOP cut the lead to 5-3 with a homer of their own in the bottom of the seventh.
Copher finished 2-3 with two RBIs and one run scored in the final game of the weekend. Eyman was 1-3 with two RBIs and Christner was 1-3 with an RBI.
McDanel got her third win of the weekend to match Christner. She gave up three earned runs on five hits and no walks, while striking out five batters over seven innings.
IW is now 22-7 overall and 9-3 in the conference. The Tigers are currently in fourth place, when four teams make the conference tournament. They have another huge doubleheader at Eureka, the third-place team in the SLIAC at 8-2, on Wednesday, April 17.