By Drew Lyon
Special to The Free Press
ST PETER —
Another day, another game, another forecast of raw weather conditions for the Gustavus Adolphus College softball team. On the bright side, at least it was dry compared to a wet start Friday to the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament at Caswell Park.
“It’s definitely been a challenge,” GAC pitcher Kate Rentschler said while sipping a cup of hot chocolate after the No. 5-seeded Gusties’ fell 8-0 Saturday to top seed St. Thomas. “It stinks.
“(Friday’s game) was the coldest game I’ve ever played in. But we’re doing the best we can.”
Gustavus (15-18 overall, 10-10 in MIAC) was one of the final four MIAC teams remaining after winning a pair of games Friday. But the Gusties fell behind early to the Tommies, and never recovered.
St. Thomas grabbed an early lead in the first after Erin Musset’s single scored Jenna Hoffman. St. Thomas added to the lead in a four-run second inning, capped by back-to-back home runs by Bianca Peterson and Hoffman off GAC starter Sarah Rozell.
“You can’t fall behind against this team,” Gustavus head coach Jeff Annis said. “They made the plays and we just didn’t make as many.”
Rentschler relieved Rozell in the third inning, and allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings. Kendra Bowe and Annie Boyer combined for six scoreless innings.
“Kate came and did a really solid job and kept us in the game,” Annis said. “Unfortunately, offensively, we just didn’t get any runs across the board.”
St. Thomas robbed the Gusties of their best scoring chance in the fourth, when Brittany Brenke’s drive to right-center was snagged by St. Thomas right fielder McKenzie Wergin as she fell over the plastic fence. Kailey Morgan and Rentschler followed with consecutive singles, but Rozell struck out to end the Gusties’ rally.
“We knew coming in that St. Thomas is a very good team,” Rentschler said. “They’re always well-coached.”
Leading 7-0 in the bottom of the sixth, the Tommies ended the game on a Kimmey Hassel single that scored Peterson to end the game.
“We had a good day yesterday,” Annis said. “We just came out a little flat today.”
After playing 14 games in six days and holding just a single practice outdoors all spring, Annis says his team’s performance has been as disjointed as the weather.
“It’s been that sort of way the whole season,” he said. “It’s been hit or miss. But everyone’s had those issues.”
In Saturday’s second game against St. Olaf College, Gustavus won again by score of 11-2.
Kate Rentschler drove in three runs on two hits and scored a run and Jessica Williams had three RBIs. Kailey Morgan drove in two and Carly Klass had two hits and scored twice.
Kat Dahl, Paige Breneman and Breanne Rentschler each had two hits apiece. Williams picked up the win, giving up two earned and six hits in six innings.