INDIANAPOLIS - The Marian University softball team completed the sweep of Spring Arbor University in a vital Mid-Central College Conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Marian University Softball Field. The Knights earned a 3-2 win in the opener before a 4-3 win in 11 innings in the nightcap.
The Knights improved to 28-9 on the season and 8-4 in MCC play, while SAU dropped to 13-27 and 5-11 in conference play.
The opener saw junior Emily Gwaltney get an early lead on the Cougars and hold off SAU for her 14th victory of the season. She threw her 13th complete game of the year, allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out three to improve to 14-3 in 2012. She is now 47-10 in her three seasons at MU.
The Knights took the early lead in game one when junior Helen Rogers hit her eighth home run of the season over the right center field wall to give Gwaltney the 1-0 lead. Senior Lizzee Campbell delivered a two-run triple in the bottom of the second to stake Gwaltney a 3-0 lead and that proved to be enough.
SAU got one back in the top of the third and another in the fifth, but Gwaltney was able to slam the door and give MU its fourth victory in the last five games.
Senior Emily Pusti went 2-for-3, while Rogers finished 1-for-3 with the home run and an RBI. Campbell finished with the triple and two RBIs, while sophomore Michelle Marcum went 2-for-3. Senior Jillian Ayres also added a hit in the opener.
Marcum played the hero in game two when she delivered the game-winning RBI in MU's 4-3, 11-inning win.
MU staked itself a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Rogers hit an RBI-single. SAU took the lead in the top of the third after posting a pair of runs, but MU was able to get it back in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Chelsey Hartman hit an sacrifice fly to score Rogers and tie the ballgame heading into the final inning.
Neither team was able to make anything happen in the seventh and Rogers led off the bottom of the eighth with a double off the top of the left field fence. She was doubled up, however, on a controversial appeal on a fly out by Gwaltney to end the threat.
Both teams went quietly in the ninth as junior Amy Tamer had a stellar outing. Once the international tiebreaker was brought into play, the game began to get interesting.
SAU scored in the top of the 10th on a sacrifice fly, but MU answered in the bottom of the 10th when freshman Becca Twining scored on a throwing error by the first baseman. The game would continue to the 11th and Tamer continued to shine.
She induced a strikeout, a ground out and a fly out in the top of the 11th to give MU a chance in the bottom half. Rogers was placed on second and Gwaltney moved her over with a sacrifice bunt. Marcum took the 0-1 pitch right back up the middle to score the game-winning run and send MU to the 4-3 victory.
Tamer threw a complete game in which she threw 136 pitches and 98 being strikes. She allowed three runs, two earned, on nine hits and struck out five to improve to 10-4 on the season. The complete game was her 11th of the season and 24th of her career.
Rogers led the way in the nightcap after she went 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Gwaltney finished 2-for-4. Uebelhor, Marcum and Hartman each added a hit with Hartman and Marcum driving in a run each.
The Knights will remain at home when they host Bethel College (18-10; 12-0 MCC), which is receiving votes in the NAIA Softball Coaches' Poll, on Monday in a re-scheduled doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. at Marian University Softball Field and the twinbill can be heard LIVE on the Knights Athletics Network at www.muknights.com.