Saint Martin's takes wind-swept pair from MSUB

2014-03-29T19:19:00Z 2014-03-30T00:50:06Z Saint Martin's takes wind-swept pair from MSUBBy JOE KUSEK The Billings Gazette

Hitting, that was fairly easy. No problems there.

It was pushing runs across the plate that was the trouble.

Saint Martin’s hit two home runs in both games and Sam Munger pitched every inning as the Saints swept Montana State Billings 3-2 and 10-2 Saturday afternoon in Great Northwest Athletic Conference softball in gale wind conditions.

The teams will play another doubleheader on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. at Avitus Group Stadium. It was originally scheduled for noon.

The Yellowjackets (9-14, 4-10) had nine hits in the second game, including a third-inning home run by Bella Rovens. But MSUB left eight runners on base and the Saints turned two double plays to end any potential rallies.

“We’re just not stringing hits together,” said senior catcher Brittney Sanders. “People are hitting the ball but we don’t have people on base when we get the hits.

“We’ve been hitting great as a team. Nine hits … we should have more runs. We’re close. We need to bunch our hits together.”

The Yellowjackets out-hit Saint Martin’s in the opener 6-5. The Saints scored all their runs in the third inning on a two-run home run by Lacey McGladrey, which ricocheted off the upper part of the flag pole in center field, and a solo home run by Munger two batters later.

Breanna Wilson had two of MSUB’s six hits.

“We’ve been having issues feeding off our offense,” said Yellowjacket head coach Lisa Allen. “They say hitting is contagious. When one player gets a hit, another needs to follow with another hit. We need to feed off of it to get better.”

A handful of mistakes unraveled MSUB in the nightcap. The Saints scored three two-out runs after two Yellowjacket errors and Dani Wall and Riko Toyoma turned two pitching mistakes into a pair of home runs and five RBIs. Wall poked a three-run home run over right field during the Saints five-run seventh inning.

Bella Rovens had a solo home run for MSUB in the third inning.

“Five bad plays,” Allen said. “Two errors led to three runs and two bad pitches turn into a three-run home run and two-run home run. And we had another mistake that led to a run. We gave them eight runs on mistake pitches and errors. You take those away and it’s a different game.

“We talk about staying strong the whole game. I’d say we’re at 95 percent right now. We need to be at 100 percent.”

Cori Gammon had three hits for MSUB, while Rovens had two.

While Munger was earning both victories for Saint Martin’s, Sanders was starting her 22nd game behind the plate for the Yellowjackets. She has caught in every game but one, when she was the designated hitter against Black Hills State.

“I take care of myself, the training staff helps,” said Sanders. “I take ice baths after every game. I like it (playing every game). I like to be out there most of the time.”

Sanders is among MSUB’s leaders for extra-base hits this season. She threw out one potential base runner on Saturday and made a few more high-reaching saves to prevent any more runs.

“Brittney has worked real hard since she got here,” Allen said. “She does a nice job of blocking the plate and controlling the defense.”

NOTES: After Sunday’s games, MSUB will only have four home games left in the regular season, doubleheaders against Northwest Nazarene on April 11 and 12. ... Jessyka MacDonald, who started the opener for the Yellowjackets, struck out one and walked three. She ranks eighth all-time for career strikeouts with 181. ... Senior pitcher Amanda Todd, who struck out the final batter of the second game, ranks fifth all-time for career strikeouts with 263. ... MSUB has scored just 11 runs in four straight home losses.

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