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Belles Sweep MIAA Twinbill Against Comets

JoAnna Keilman swings at a pitch with several people visible in the background.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's softball team opened the conference portion of their 2019 schedule with a doubleheader sweep against Olivet by 5-2 and 6-3 scores on Tuesday afternoon.
The Belles got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning of game one. Sydney Swartz led off the inning with a single, and Krystal Harris followed with a single of her own. Kelsey Keilman put down a sacrifice bunt to move the pair into scoring position. Molly Mirabelli then dropped a single into shallow center field to score Swartz. Two batters later, Mandi Hettinger laced a single into left field to push Harris across for the 2-0 lead.
After forcing the Comets into stranding a runner at third in the fourth inning, Saint Mary's added to the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Megan Knudsen was hit by a pitch, and Hettinger singled to left-center to put two runners on base. Two batters later, JoAnna Keilman drove in Knudsen with a single to left field. Madelynne Keller loaded the bases with a single, and Sydney Swartz drove in both Hettinger and Swartz with a single for the 5-0 advantage.
Olivet got two runs back in the top of the sixth in a big way as a two-run home run to left-center field put the Comets on the scoreboard. Olivet threatened to cut even further into the Belles' lead by putting two runners on base with two outs, but a ground out to second base ended the inning. Down to their final at-bats, the Comets again put two runners on base with two outs, but Zoe Bruni shut the door on the comeback and the game with a strikeout for the 5-2 final.
Mandi Hettinger, JoAnna Keilman, and Sydney Swartz each went 2-for-3 in game one. Hettinger and Keilman each scored a run and drove in one. Swartz had two RBI and scored a run. Zoe Bruni went the distance in the circle for the win while striking out nine and allowing four hits.
Switching to the visiting team for the second game of the conference doubleheader, the Belles jumped ahead in the top of the first inning. Kelsey Keilman beat out a bunt single, and Molly Mirabelli moved Keilman up 60 feet with a sacrifice bunt. Mandi Hettinger delivered a two-out single to keep the inning alive, and JoAnna Keilman laced a two-run double to left field to push the runners across home plate.
Olivet responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning with a single, sacrifice bunt, and three consecutive singles to plate a pair. The Belles got a big double play to end the first inning to take some momentum into their next at-bats. Saint Mary's took the lead right back in the top of the second. Swartz led off with a walk and scored from first base on a double by Alyssa Gutierrez.
The Belles doubled their run total in the top of the third inning. Megan Knudsen got things started with a double, and JoAnna Keilman traded places with her with a one-out double to make it a 4-2 game. Alison Alberts then launched the first home run of her collegiate career over the center field fence to put Saint Mary's ahead 6-2.
The Comets made it a 6-3 score in the bottom of the fifth with a lead-off single, a stolen base, and a one-out single. Saint Mary's came up with a big stop in that same inning as the Belles forced Olivet to leave the bases loaded as a pop up to shortstop ended the threat. The Comets put two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh inning with only one out, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the game with the Belles on top 6-3.
Alison Alberts, JoAnna Keilman, Krystal Harris, and Alyssa Gutierrez each collected two hits in the nightcap. Alberts belted her first career home run to drive in two runs and score once while also adding a single. Keilman had three RBI with a pair of doubles and a run. Gutierrez drove in a run with a double. Each batter in the Belles' lineup safely reached base at least once in the win. Mandi Hettinger picked up her first win in the circle after throwing the final six innings, allowing just one run, and striking out one with no walks and no extra-base hits.
The Belles (5-12, 2-0 MIAA) travel to No. 17 ranked Trine tomorrow for a rescheduled conference doubleheader against the Thunder starting at 3:00 p.m.