Beloit, WI -- So close. The Beloit College Softball team came so close to sweeping Carroll University on Wednesday at the Strong Complex Softball Field, winning game one 11-3 in five innings before dropping the nightcap 3-2.
But the Buccaneers are still in the hunt for a spot in the Midwest Conference Tournament, needing to take care of business at St. Norbert College on Saturday and look for some favorable results when Lawrence University hosts Carroll the same day.
But back to Wednesday.
Beloit got things off to a rousing start in the opener, with Emily Dorjath, one of two Buccaneer seniors being honored for Senior Day, hitting a two-run home run in the first to put the Bucs on top for good. The long ball was Dorjath's third of the season and the 10th of her career, tying her with Amanda Splan (2002-05) for the second-most in a career. After the Pioneers got a run back in the second Mikayla Martin re-established the two-run advantage with her third home run of the season, a solo shot, in the bottom of the second.
The Buccaneers blew things open in the third inning, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring eight runs. In succession, Tala Cornell led off the inning with a single; Bethany Stavrakas followed with a bunt single; Dorjath walked to load the bases; Megan Salm, the other half of the senior duo, singled in the first run; Emalie Thern reached on a fielder's choice to score the second run; April Apfelbaum singled in the third run; Martin singled in the fourth run; Jordyn Ciochon was hit by a pitch to force in the fifth run; two outs were made; Stavrakas reached on an error, with two runs scoring; and Dorjath singled in the eighth run of the inning before CU got the third out.
Carroll got a run in the fourth and added their final run in the fifth, unearned, to close out the scoring and end the game early.
Jen Zucker earned her 12th win of the season, the most since Jamie Cassette won 19 in 1996 and tying Nicki Voie (1991) for second-most all-time in a season. Zucker struck out five to take over sole possession of third place all-time and walked three while scattering seven hits. Cornell, Dorjath and Martin all had two hits in the game.
In game two CU grabbed the lead with a run in the second inning before Cornell tied it up in the third with her eighth home run of the season and the 17th of her career. The eight is second-most in a season while the 17 ties Carrie Bieniek (1994-97) for the most in a career.
The Pioneers grabbed their first lead of the day in the fifth inning with a one-out, two-run single but Beloit came back with a run in the bottom of the inning on Dorjath's bases-loaded walk. That was as close as the Bucs would get, stranding the tying run on third in the sixth and the tying and winning runs on second and third in the seventh.
Cornell and Maddie Terlap finished with two hits each in the game. Cornell's two hits gave her 101 in her career, making her the 12th member of that club in Beloit program history.
The Buccaneers close out the regular season with the key doubleheader at St. Norbert on Saturday. First pitch is at 1:00 p.m.