Big bats and strong pitching performances by Morgan Murphy and Annie Boyer helped the No. 17-ranked St. Thomas softball team sweep a doubleheader against Concordia-Moorhead at the South Campus Field Wednesday afternoon.
In the process of batting through the order in the first inning, St. Thomas (16-4 overall, 4-0 MIAC) scored five runs off Concordia-Moorhead (5-14 overall, 0-2 MIAC) pitcher Hilary Rotunda. Murphy held the Cobber batters in check, holding them to zero runs and one hit in four innings of work.
Leadoff hitter and shortstop Jenna Hoffman got the Tommies rolling with a single past the shortstop. After Hoffman stole second, right fielder McKenzie Wergin knocked Hoffman home with a single up the middle. Wergin scored off a catcher Emily Gregory line drive that hit the wall in left field. After this double, St. Thomas added two more runs to its total, to make it 5-0 after the first inning.
Coach John Tschida said the Tommie batters were finding their spot at the plate and were able to put the ball in play.
“Just watching the first couple innings how we stayed inside about it and drove it the other way and that’s what we were keying on, which makes you a better hitter, regardless of the day,” Tschida said.
In the second inning, the Tommies added two more runs, including a home run from Gregory and an RBI double from first basemen Genny Duffy. Not only was Duffy hitting the ball well, but the whole team, and Duffy, said working on offense in practice is paying off.
“I think a lot of us were hitting the sweet spot today,” Duffy said. “A lot of our practices have been really working on hitting, not just swinging and getting a feel for it, but doing hard work at practice.”
Along with the pitching woes, Concordia was also unable to get anywhere close to scoring runs, until the fifth inning when Tschida switched Murphy for pitcher Brianna Bannon. Bannon gave up the Cobbers’ only run.
St. Thomas added five more runs after its initial five in the first to make the final score 10-1.
Tommies score 25 on the Cobbers
The dominance continued for the Tommies from the first batter of the second game. Starting pitcher Annie Boyer struck out the first two batters in the first inning, with the third popping out to the shortstop. The weather for the second game was not perfect for softball, but Boyer said she just needed to keep her hands warm.
“Your hands are definitely a little cold, so you got to keep them warm,” Boyer said. “Thankfully my coach had a nice hand warmer. You just try to keep them as warm as you can, but today’s a little harder.”
Hoffman started the second game the same way she began the first, reaching first and stealing second. After a Wergin walk, and a passed a ball to advance the runners, Gregory knocked in both runners with a single up the middle. This was just the beginning of the Cobbers woes, as St. Thomas would go on to score 23 more runs.
Tschida said the Tommies tried their best not to run up the score, but you can’t stop players from trying.
“We didn’t want to score that many, without telling a kid to get out, we were trying to take it easy on them,” Tschida said. “We didn’t try to score on passed balls and stuff, but you also can’t tell your reserves not to swing the bat, so it’s kinda tough.”
St. Thomas will look to extend its 34-game conference unbeaten streak when it hosts Hamline (5-8-1) on Thursday.
Jesse Krull can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.