Softball starts 5-5 in HAAC

Story by Antonio Adgers, Writer

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The Baker softball team is now 5-5 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference after splitting a series with the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers on April 4 and being swept at home by Evangel on Tuesday. The previous week, the Wildcats swept Peru State and were swept by Benedictine.

The Wildcats split with MidAmerica Nazarene, winning the first game 7-1 and losing game two, 6-0. Baker was swept by Evangel at home on Tuesday with an 8-2 loss in game one and a 16-2 loss in game two. The ‘Cats recorded seven hits in both games but allowed 24 runs on the day, 16 of which came in game two. In game two, Baker trailed 3-2 but Evangel pulled away with 13 consecutive runs and three home runs off of three Wildcat pitchers.

Against Peru State, the ‘Cats came out on top 5-2 in game one and 8-5 in game two.

Junior pitcher Mallorie Nelson was the hero for the Wildcats against Peru State. She pitched the entire first game, striking out 11 batters and only allowing six hits on two earned runs. She also went 2-3 in the same game from the batter’s box with a home run, a double and two RBIs. In game two, Nelson got back on the mound in the third inning and finished the game, adding two more strikeouts to her total for the day. Nelson threw a total of 163 pitches in the doubleheader.

“Mal really shined for us on Saturday,” head coach Jamie Stanclift said. “She was having a really good day and she was the driving force for those two wins.”

Infielder Stephanie Cardona hit lights out during game two. The freshman almost completed the cycle as she went 3-4 with a double, a triple and a home run. She also had two RBIs.

Sophomore outfielder Sammie Schroeder went 2-4 in game two with two RBIs, and Mallorie Nelson went 2-4 as well with two doubles and two RBIs.

“I’m just really happy with how we’re fighting right now,” Stanclift said. “Every inning we’re chipping away and we’re really challenging ourselves not to be complacent.”

The Wildcats then played a doubleheader at Benedictine on April 1 and were swept by the Ravens, who are now 17-10 overall and 4-2 in conference play. Nelson had only allowed one hit through six innings but gave up a hit and a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh. Baker eventually lost 1-0, as Nelson only received two hits on offense behind her.

In game two, the Wildcats finally saw the offense come to life with two runs in the first inning, but Benedictine countered with three runs in the first, one run in the second, four runs in the third and two in the bottom of the fifth to complete the sweep with a 10-2 win.

Freshman Madison Nedved started and pitched two-thirds of an inning with three earned runs, and sophomore Katt Cooper pitched over three innings with five hits and five earned runs. The Wildcats only had two hits in the second game for a total of four hits on the afternoon.

The softball team finished the month of March with an 8-9 record. They started the month with three wins against Tabor, Sterling and Southwestern, then lost eight straight games over the course of one week. Toward the end of the month, the ‘Cats won four straight games to finish March and they hope to carry that momentum through the month of April. Baker is 10-23 on the season thus far.

Sophomore Sammie Schroeder leads the team in batting average, hitting .360 on the season. Junior third baseman Cari Vollenweider and Cardona both lead the team in home runs with 3 a piece for the year. Cardona leads the team in hits with 33 on the season and Weekly has 32, while Nelson leads the team in RBIs with 19.

Nelson also has the best ERA on the team coming in at 4.11 with 107 strikeouts in 93.2 innings pitched. Cooper is the team’s second best pitcher with an ERA of 6.89.

On April 15, the Wildcats will be back in Baldwin City against Avila. BU plays April 11 against first place, 8-0 Central Methodist in Fayette, Missouri.