Marian University softball (17-11, 9-5 NACC) rallied from late deficits in both games defeating Lakeland 5-3 and 6-5 in eight innings to earn a crucial NACC sweep.
The Muskies opened the twin bill with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning only to have an RBI single from junior Taylor Lauscher cut the Lakeland lead in half in the bottom of the first. The Muskies were able to add to their lead in the fourth inning before Marian rallied to take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Sophomore Peyton Loesch opened the scoring for the inning with an RBI double before fellow sophomore Katy Croeker tied the game with an RBI ground out. Another sophomore in Alexa Rodriguez gave Marian the lead for good with an RBI double in the right-center field gap. A throwing error in the sixth allowed junior Ally Fox to score in the sixth to pad the lead and set the final at 5-3.
After a tough first inning, junior Paige Rauhut (8-5) settled down to only allow three hits in the final six innings as part of her complete game win. Rauhut went on to total six punch outs. Offensively, Fox went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Lauscher also had a multi-hit game.
Fox also became the all-time leader for stolen bases in a career with her 69th stolen base in the bottom of the fifth inning of the game.
The second game saw Marian jump out to a 2-0 lead after one inning with Fox scoring on interference and Rodriguez driving in senior Lindsey Strainis with a single. The Muskies made sure the lead didn’t last long as Lakeland was able to tie the game a half inning later and take the lead in the third with a leadoff homer. An error allowed the Muskies to extend their lead to 4-2 in the sixth, but once again Marian rallied in the next half inning.
Freshman Melanie Weigel opened the scoring in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single before fellow freshman Andrea Meagher tied the game in the next at-bat with another RBI single. The Meagher single tied the game at 4-4 and eventually forced extra innings.
In extras, Lakeland was able to strike in the top of the eighth with a run taking advantage of a pair of singles to lead off the inning. Freshman Hannah Cozzi led off the Marian half of the eighth with a single and was moved over to second after a sacrifice bunt from Weigel. After a strikeout and an intentional walk of Fox, Strainis was able to come up with a clutch two-out single that tied the game. Lauscher then sent the Sabre fans home happy in the next at-bat with a single that snuck past the Lakeland shortstop.
Fox once again had a big game at the top of the Marian lineup going 4-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, while out of the nine spot Meagher had a strong game going 3-for-4. In the circle, sophomore Myranda Schuttenhelm went 7.0 innings allowing only three earned runs with Loesch (2-2) picking up the win.
Marian plays their final NACC home games tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, at noon taking on Wisconsin Lutheran.