MONTGOMERY, Ill. - Marian University softball (25-13, 15-7 NACC) swept the opening day of the NACC tournament defeating fifth-seeded Dominican 2-1 in nine innings and upsetting top-seeded Concordia Wisconsin 4-2.
The opener of the postseason was a pitcher's duel for the Sabres against Dominican but Marian was able to come out on top in extra innings. The Sabres put a runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings before the Stars put together a rally with two outs in the fourth to take a 1-0 lead.
This lead held until the fifth inning when the Sabres were able to finally plate a run. The Sabres were able to load the bases with nobody out behind a pair of singles and an error before sophomore Peyton Loesch drove in freshman Andrea Meagher with a one-out sacrifice fly.
Neither team was able to get much going until the eighth when Marian would put runners on first and second base with one out but the Stars would avoid the walk-off. The Sabres were able to open the ninth with a single from freshman Hannah Cozzi before an error on a sacrifice bunt from fellow freshman Kira Hall-Risor put runners on second and third with nobody out. Meagher then completed the victory with a sacrifice fly to lead the Sabres to a 2-1 win.
Senior Lindsey Strainis, junior Taylor Lauscher, and Cozzi all had multi-hit games, while Meagher had a hand in both runs driving one in and scoring the other. In the circle, junior Paige Rauhut went 4.0 innings allowing just three hits with sophomore Myranda Schuttenhelm (12-4) earning the win going 5.0 innings allowing just two hits with four strikeouts.
With the win, head coach Tony Draves earned his 113th win become the all-time winningest coach in Sabre softball history.
The second game against top-seeded Concordia Wisconsin started the same with the two squads combining to only put three runners on base after three innings. Marian stranded the bases loaded in the fourth inning before putting up a crooked number in the fifth.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Loesch was able to draw a free pass to give Marian the lead before an error by the Falcons cleared the bases to put Marian ahead 4-0. The Falcon bats were held in check until the seventh where they would plate two but CUW would strand the bases loaded leading to the Sabre win.
Junior Ally Fox had two of the three Marian hits in the game with the Sabres drawing six walks in the victory, three of which came from Loesch. Rauhut (11-7) had another strong start and closed out the win totaling 5.1 innings allowing just three hits with three punch outs.
Marian remains in the winner's bracket to take on MSOE at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, May 3, from Spartan Athletic Park.