Sunday split with Wayne helps Cards stay in second
4-2 record over weekend has softball team within one game of Grand Valley for first place in conference
April 16, 2007 —
The Cardinals couldn't keep up the momentum from Saturday. Thank Molly Yetman for that.
Wayne State's junior pitcher allowed just one hit in a six-inning complete-game 9-0 victory in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader in Saginaw. The young and resilient Cards came back in the second game to win 3-1, though, and stay in second place in the GLIAC, one game behind Grand Valley for first.
The Cards were coming off a performance on Saturday that saw them score 22 runs in 11-10 and 11-0 victories over Hillsdale, but Yetman showed from the start that nothing like that would happen against her. She looked every bit the pitcher that entered the game with a 0.54 ERA and 10-2 record, as she struck out nine Cardinals, increasing her total to 142 in just 84.1 innings, and walked just one.
"We swung at a lot of bad pitches in that first game," coach Bill Graham said. "We had poor plate discipline. I mean, she's real good. But we made her look great."
The game was shaping up to be a pitchers duel but turned into a dominating effort for Yetman. Sophomore Stacy Kraatz was shaky in the first but allowed just one run and then was steady for the second and third innings. The Warriors eventually loaded the bases in the fourth, though, and scored five times to go up 6-0.
Sophomore Mallory Miller relieved Kraatz after the Warriors went up 7-0 in the fifth, and gave up two more runs in the top of the sixth. The Cards were unable to muster any offense in the bottom of the inning, putting the eight-run mercy rule into effect.
The second game was a different story both for the Cards' bats and for starter Kari Bowlby. The freshman came into the game with an 8-3 record and 2.69 ERA, but was coming off two disappointing efforts earlier in the weekend - a 5-1 loss to Mercyhurst on Friday and the 11-10 victory over Hillsdale, when she gave up five runs in 2.2 innings.
She didn't allow a run until the fifth inning, when Amanda Van't Wout hit an RBI double to bring the Warriors to within two at 3-1. Bowlby proceeded to retire the Warriors in order in the sixth before experiencing some trouble in the seventh, when she had runners at second and third with two outs after another double from Van't Wout. After a visit to the mound from Graham, she got leadoff hitter Lindsey Perry to line out to shortstop Nicole Fick.
The Cards' offense showed things would be different without Yetman on the mound right away, scoring in the first inning off a single by sophomore catcher Jessica Anhel that plated freshman centerfielder Angela Kaiser. SVSU loaded the bases after that, but freshman Nikki Bigelow struck out looking to end the inning.
They added to their total in the fourth, scoring off an RBI single by sophomore Stephanie Sills and an error by Warriors' third basemen Robyn Haig.
The three runs were enough for Bowlby, who improved to a team-best 9-3 on the season. She scattered six hits and walked one as she improved her ERA to 2.55.
"Kari pitched well for the entire game, especially after what she went through the rest of the weekend," Graham said. "She has carried us for parts of this season."
Graham expressed his pleasure with his team's ability to come back so well in the second game after being dominated in the first.
"It's good to see for their benefit," he said. "Teams usually do one of two things after being whipped like that: they get dominated again, or they just let it go and move on to the next game. We've done that a few times this season, so I'm not surprised by the courage they showed."
Before the doubleheader against Mercyhurst on Friday, which the Cards split, they were ranked fourth in the Great Lakes Region. Graham, who said he didn't tell the team at first, said the rankings, which have SVSU above Wayne State and Grand Valley State and right behind Ashland, haven't had an effect so far on the team.
"I don't think they are thinking about it," he said. "Nobody remembers where you were in the rankings in mid-April. It's about where you are at the end."
The 4-2 record over the weekend improved the Cards' record to 19-10 overall and 7-3 in the conference, one game behind the Lakers' 7-1 pace.
"If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that we would be 19-10 through almost 30 games, I definitely would have taken it," Graham said. "We've had more positives than negatives this season. I'm real proud of the way they handled themselves today."
The Cards' next doubleheader is Thursday, when they host Northwood, 5-3 in the conference, at 3 p.m.