The Buena Vista softball team opened its season on Friday morning with a pair of early games inside of the Rosemount Dome against nationally ranked St. Thomas (Minn.). The 19th-ranked Tommies finished with the sweep over the Beavers, winning by scores of 9-1 (5 inn.) and 9-3, respectively.
BVU fell behind 6-0 after one inning of game one, but then surrendered just three runs over the final three frames. Needing a pair of runs in the fifth to keep the game going, the Beavers loaded the bases with one out and got an RBI single from Sam Engleman (Hawarden, Iowa/West Sioux), but after a pitching change by the Tommies, couldn’t squeeze a second run across.
Brooke Berkey (Colfax, Iowa/Colfax-Mingo), who scored on Engleman’s single, led the team with two base knocks. Jordon Pilcher (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington), Stephanie Hayden (Prairie City, Iowa/PCM) and Jessica Stocker (Carlisle, Iowa/Carlisle) each chipped in with one.
Junior Brittney Kubik (Martensdale, Iowa/Martensdale St. Mary’s) made her Beaver debut on the mound and suffered the loss. She allowed six runs overall, but only a lead-off home run to start the game was the only one that was earned.
Faith Schmidt (Emmetsburg, Iowa/Emmetsburg) made her collegiate debut in relief and pitched the final four frames, allowing three runs on five hits.
BVU looked to bounce back in the finale, but came up short in the end. The Tommies took a 2-0 lead in the third before breaking the game open in the fourth with four more runs.
Berkey doubled to lead off the fourth for the Beavers and scored one batter later when Pilcher scored on an error by St. Thomas.
The Tommies, however, added three more insurance runs in the seventh to extend the margin to 9-1. BVU tried to rally in the bottom half, getting an RBI groundout from senior Allison Kirchgatter (Anthon, Iowa/MVAO) and an RBI infield single from Berkey, but that proved to be all the scoring.
Berkey finished 2-for-4 in the contest with the RBI and a run scored. Stocker also added a hit and scored one run, while Pilcher, Schmidt and Mikaela Millslagle (Lamoni, Iowa/Lamoni) all finished with one hit.
Freshman Jenna Falline (Newell,Iowa/Newell-Fonda) was also making her collegiate debut on the mound for the Beavers and suffered the loss after working the first 3.2 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits. Schmidt then came on in relief for the second straight game, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits.
Each pitcher struck out one batter.
St. Thomas (2-0) finished with 37 wins a year ago and won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the 11th time in the last 13 seasons. It returns 24 players from that team this season.
Buena Vista, 0-2 on the year, will look to get in the win column on Saturday when it plays a doubleheader against Bethel University. First pitch of game one is set for 9:00am.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.