Solid pitching and timely hitting lifted the Carthage softball team to a non-conference doubleheader sweep Thursday in Kissimmee, Fla.
After blanking Eastern, 8-0, the Reds upped their record to 5-3 with a 4-3 victory over Bridgewater.
Fresh off being named College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Player of the Week, Stefanie Guercio pitched her third shutout victory of the season in the win over Eastern. The junior struck out nine and allowed just two hits while hurling a complete game.
The Reds got on the board in the second inning when Ellie Bernero drove home Makenzie Miller with an RBI single. Guercio helped herself with a bases-loaded single that scored Donna Stevens for a 2-0 lead in the third.
Carthage produced another run with the bases loaded when Miller plated Naomi Alonzo on a fielder’s choice in the third. The Reds later capitalized on an Eastern error to pad the lead to 4-0.
Carthage ended the game via the eight-run mercy rule with four runs in the fifth. Danielle Koziczkowski and Bernero drove in runs with singles, while Madison Kern’s RBI fielder’s choice sealed the win.
Alonzo starred in the Reds’ narrow win over Bridgewater, pitching four innings and knocking in the game-tying and winning runs.
Carthage won the game in dramatic fashion, with Alonzo’s single plating Rylee Johnson and Marissa Maldonado in the seventh for the comeback victory.
After Brooke Sefcik’s two-run homer erased Bridgewater’s 1-0 lead in the second, the Eagles regained the lead with a pair of runs in the third and held the advantage until Alonzo’s clutch hit.
Carthage picked up the win despite being outhit 8-4. Alonzo pitched in relief of Bernero, allowing just one hit over the final four innings to earn the victory.
The Reds will conclude their Florida trip with games against Roanoke College at 8 a.m. and Bates College at 10:15 today.
Gustavus Adolphus 3,
Carthage lost a heartbreaker in Tucson, Ariz., as the Gusties scored twice in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the non-conference game.
“That was a tough one after we dominated the game for 2½ hours,” Carthage coach Augie Schmidt IV said.
After Jack Hanson drove home Matt Berkner with a one-out, bases-loaded sacrifice fly to even the score at 2-2, Dexter Leer drew a walk and Brice Panning singled through the right side to score Ethan Mocci for the game-winning run.
“We were sailing along until the ninth, when we got the usual collection of walks and hit batters to get us in trouble,” Schmidt said. “That stuff came back to bite us.”
Reliever Brandon Hanik took the loss after allowing two runs and a hit over two-plus innings.
“He was pitching well, so we sent him back out for the ninth,” Schmidt said. “They got a little dribbler for a base hit and then Hanik hit a guy, and pretty soon, it’s game over.”
The Red Men opened the scoring with a run in the second inning. Ben Levicki singled, advanced to third on Myles Farley’s base hit and scored when Ricky Bergstrom reached base on an infield error.
Carthage padded its lead to 2-0 in the fifth when Colton Klein led off with a single, advanced to third on a pair of infield grounders and scored on Vince Schwartz’s single.
Starting pitcher Chance Roach pitched a gem for the Red Men, allowing an unearned run and a hit over five-plus innings. His no-hit bid ended with two outs in the fifth when Hanson tripled home Nathan Lindberg.
“We got a great outing from a freshman,” Schmidt said of Roach. “He just did a great job.
“It’s a little frustrating when you lose a game when a freshman is throwing strikes.”
Carthage (3-3), which has lost three of its last four games, will try to get back on the winning track when it takes on Bemidji State University 1:30 p.m. today in Tucson.
Trine University 1
The Red Men opened the second leg of their spring break tour in dominant fashion with an easy win over the Thunder in Orlando, Fla.
Carthage swept Trine in doubles, with the No. 1 team of Daniel Moore and Andre Antreassian, No. 2 Tripp Schulte and Matt Krzewinski, and No. 3 Fordy Leipold and Kevin Dunn picking up victories.
The Red Men’s top four singles players of Moore, Schulte, Antreassian and Krzewinski also earned wins. Carthage’s lone setback was Oscar Irazoque’s loss at No. 5 singles.
Carthage will finish its Orlando trip today with matches against Coe College at 7 a.m. and Piedmont College at 11:30.
Wooster (Ohio) 23,
The Reds gave up 14 goals in the first half in a non-conference road loss to the Fighting Scots.
Hanna Holloway and Jessie Gibson scored for Carthage, which fell to 3-3. Alexa Mellis led undefeated Wooster (4-0) with six goals, followed by Laura Papp with four.
Carthage will conclude its Ohio trip with a game against Wittenberg University 11 a.m. Sunday in Springfield.