INDIANOLA, Iowa – The No. 14 Simpson softball team came back for a 4-1 win over UW-Eau Claire in the opener and held off Gustavus Adolphus for a 3-2 win in the nightcap at Simpson Softball Complex on Friday afternoon.
Co-hosting a tournament with Central, Simpson was able to officially open its home schedule on Friday thanks to some long-awaited warm weather. The Storm were credited with hosting home games last Saturday, although the games were played at Indianola High School.
UW-Eau Claire beat Gustavus 7-4 in the first game of the day.
Game 1: Simpson 4, UW-Eau Claire 1
Kacee Arey shut out Eau Claire the final six innings and Simpson took the lead thanks to a pair of unearned runs in the fifth en-route to the come-from-behind win.
Sarah Fern's RBI single in the first gave the Blugolds (12-2) a 1-0 lead and Laura Raflik held Simpson's bats in check until the fifth.
Chelsea Winegard drove in Simpson's first run on a sacrifice bunt and Emma Negrete scored the go-ahead run on a fielding error. In all, Eau Claire committed two errors in the inning and three for the game.
Arey (15-2) held Eau Claire to six hits in the win while Raflik (4-1) suffered her first loss of the season.
Game 2: Simpson 3, Gustavus Adolphus 2
Arey struck out Sam Breneman with two on and the tying run on second as the Storm cut the Gustavus rally short.
Simpson led 3-1 after six and retired the first two batters of the seventh before Carly Klass doubled in a run. Brooke Falk drew a walk to put runners on first and second before Arey fanned Breneman to end the threat.
Winegard and Hailey Jensen each singled and drove in a run – both of which proved crucial – in the bottom of the fifth. Leslie Downing legged out an infield single to lead off the inning and moved to third on consecutive sacrifices by Prettyman and Negrete. Winegard's base hit to right broke a 1-1 tie.
Arey went the distance for the second time, striking out four. Sarah Rosell (2-3) gave up eight hits in the complete game effort for the Gusties (3-7).
Simpson is set to open the conference schedule with a doubleheader against Central at home on Wednesday, April 3. The Dutch (15-5) received votes in the latest NFCA Coaches' Poll and swept St. Scholastica 11-0 (5) and 4-3 on Friday.
First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Simpson Softball Complex.
Emily Te Brink (.436, 10 RBIs), Abbey Strajack (.433, 11 RBIs) and 2012 IIAC Position Player of the Year Annie Sarcone (.351, 17 RBIs) lead the Central offense and Mallory Schulenber (7-1, 0.59 ERA) is the squad's stopper in the circle. Last year's IIAC Tournament Champions were picked second in the IIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll, receiving one first place vote.