Belles Split MIAA Doubleheader Against No. 11 Trine

Mandi Hettinger, wearing a navy blue uniform, throws a pitch.
ANGOLA, Ind. - The Saint Mary's softball team bounced back from a 6-1 game-one loss with a 5-1 victory over No. 11 (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) Trine in conference action on Wednesday evening.
 
The Belles got out to a 1-0 lead in game one with a run in the top of the second inning. JoAnna Keilman laced a one-out double to left-center field and scored standing up on a single to right field by Madelynne Keller.
 
The Thunder capitalized on a defensive miscue by Saint Mary's in the bottom of the third inning. An error with two outs kept the inning alive and two runners on base for Trine, and the Thunder took the lead with a home run by the next batter for a 3-1 advantage. Trine added two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Belles continued to battle. In the top of the fifth, Sydney Swartz led off the inning with a double to center field. Krystal Harris bounced a single up the middle to put a pair of runners aboard for Saint Mary's. Kelsey Keilman successfully advanced the pair with a sacrifice bunt, but a pair of outs to the Trine shortstop ended the threat.
 
Saint Mary's put a runner in scoring position with two outs in the top of the sixth as Madelynne Keller reached on a fielder's choice and Zoe Bruni singled up the middle. An infield pop up, however, put a stop to that scoring chance. Trine added an additional run in the bottom half of the inning, and the Belles were unable to put together the seventh-inning rally as the game ended 6-1.
 
JoAnna Keilman went 2-for-3 in game one with a double and a run. Madelynne Keller had a hit and an RBI, and Zoe Bruni, Sydney Swartz, Krystal Harris, and Molly Mirabelli each added a hit for the Belles. Bruni shouldered the loss in the circle after going the distance and surrendering just three earned runs with a pair of strikeouts.
 
Game two saw Mandi Hettinger retire the side in order in the top of the first inning as the Belles quickly got up to bat. In the bottom half of the inning, Saint Mary's patiently put together a two-out scoring rally. Kelsey Keilman started the inning off by reaching on an error. Three batters later, Hettinger singled through the right side to put two runners on, and the pair advanced 60 feet on a wild pitch. Megan Knudsen was hit with a pitch to load the bases, and Alison Alberts drew a walk to plate Keilman. Sydney Swartz drew a walk of her own to plate Hettinger for a 2-0 lead, and Krystal Harris bounced a single through the right side of the infield to drive in Knudsen and make it 3-0. Alyssa Gutierrez made it three walks for the Belles as Alberts crossed home plate for the 4-0 advantage.
 
Trine got a run back in the top of the third inning. A two-out double was followed by a single to right field as the Thunder made it a 4-1 game. Trine put two runners on with just one out gone in the top of the fourth, but Hettinger drew a fly out to left field and an infield ground out to end the inning. After the freshman retired the side in order in the fifth, Megan Knudsen led off the bottom half of the frame with a solo home run to left field for the 5-1 Saint Mary's lead.
 
Hettinger again retired the side in order in the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, the Thunder dropped a lead-off single into right field. A fielder's choice on the next play cut down the runner at second base for the first out of the inning. Hettinger wrung up a pinch hitter with a strike out looking, and the freshman snagged a come-back grounder and made the throw to first for the force out to end the game.
 
The game-two victory by Saint Mary's snapped the Thunder's 13-game winning streak and was just the second time this season Trine has scored one run or fewer.

Megan Knudsen was 2-for-2 at the dish in game two with a home run, two runs, and an RBI. Mandi Hettinger posted a 2-for-3 effort at the plate with a run. Maggie Gillis, Mirabelli, and Harris each tallied a hit. Hettinger earned her first complete-game win as she scattered six hits over seven innings, surrendered just one run, struck out six, and did not walk a batter.
 
The Belles (6-13, 3-1 MIAA) return home on Saturday to host Kalamazoo for a conference doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.