The St. Thomas softball team opened up conference play by sweeping the Hamline Pipers 18-1, 4-0 in a doubleheader matchup Wednesday night at home.
Freshman pitcher Treya Connell struck out six players and gave up four hits in four innings of work as the Tommies (15-5) cruised to an 18-1 victory in their first game.
Connell struck out the first batter of the game, helping the Tommies have a one-two-three first inning. The Tommies then scored six runs later in the inning, kick-starting their dominant performance.
“Teammates always carry you. The girls talking on the bench and the energy everywhere, it helps carry me through the game,” Connell said.
St. Thomas continued its scoring streak in the second inning, posting 10 runs on nine hits with the help of doubles from junior outfielder Alyssa Dunrud and sophomore catcher Emily Gregory. Junior second baseman Kimmy Hassel also hit two singles and scored two runs in the inning.
“The coaches do a really good job of keeping us humble, and we say we’re our biggest competitor. We play like its a 0-0 game all the time,” Connell said.
Hamline (1-13) answered back in the fourth inning scoring its only run of the game on junior utility player Jackie Brigl’s groundout to third that scored sophomore catcher Lauren Turitto.
The Tommies scored a run in both the third and fourth inning, bringing their final score to 18 and giving Connell her second win of the season.
“She’s (Connell) a freshman, but she’s already had a ton of games like that. She stays really calm in these situations,” coach John Tschida said.
Freshman pitcher Kendra Bowe gave up just two hits in a 4-0 Tommie victory, striking out nine batters in seven innings of work.
The win gives Bowe her team-high eighth victory of the season, and sophomore outfielder Maggie Briesmeister had two hits in the game, adding an RBI and a run.
“We were up 17-0 in the first game and they didn’t switch their pitchers, so we knew they were saving their good pitcher for the last game,” Briesmeister said. “Their pitcher had a natural rise, so that’s why we were popping it up.”
Though Briesmeister had two hits against Hamline sophomore pitcher Brianna Vela, the Tommies had only nine hits in the game.
“You don’t want to hit pitches you can hit; you want to hit pitches you can drive,” Tschida said. “We have to be more selective, that was the key to us not scoring runs because of too many pop ups.”
The Tommies scored one run in the first inning as a result of Gregory’s sacrifice fly that scored Hassel. The Tommies’ second run came in the second inning when sophomore outfielder Tisa Phinney scored on sophomore third baseman Brooke Selisker’s single to center field.
The remaining two runs came in the sixth inning when Briesmeister hit a solo home run, and freshman outfielder Dana Holmes scored on Connel’s single to right field.
Despite the win, the team acknowledged that there is work to be done before Saturday’s matchup against Augsburg. The Auggies (8-12) have won four of their last five games.
“We will be able to bounce back, but next practice we’ll be getting a lot of rise balls,” Briesmeister said.
Meghan Sheldon can be reached at email@example.com.