BLOOMINGTON, Ill. --- The Milwaukee School of Engineering plated six runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 7-5 win over Calvin College Thursday in an NCAA Division III Softball Championship regional first-round game at the Illinois Wesleyan University softball diamond.
The Raiders (34-10), now winners of 17 in a row and the third seed at the regional, jumped on Calvin starter Ellie Borst right away as five of the first six batters reached base safely. After a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a single up the middle to start the game, Amanda Manssen sent another single back up the middle to plate Kara McKenna. Borst then retired Rachel Ziemba on a popout in foul territory to the third-base side, before Kim White blasted a grand slam to left field to end Borst's day.
Anna Gernant entered for the Knights, walking the first batter she faced before picking up a strikeout for the second out of the inning, two more free passes followed sandwiched around an RBI single by McKenna. MSOE would leave the bases loaded, however, as Gernant struck out Emily Snow to end the inning.
Raider starter Emily Wiederholt worked around a leadoff error and a bunt single to get out of the first with the 6-0 lead. MSOE tacked on one more run in the sixth on an RBI single by Snow.
The Knights would not give up, however. After stranding a total of eight runners in the first five innings, Calvin rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth off MSOE reliever Lorrin Pondo. The total could have been higher, but the Knights left the bases loaded in the frame. After working around a couple of walks in the top half of the seventh, Calvin added two more runs in their final at-bat on a two-run homer off the bat of Kayla Groen.
MSOE had only one player - Snow - with multiple hits in the contest. The Raiders had production from throughout their lineup, though, as seven of nine players had hits.
Calvin outhit MSOE, 11-8, in the contest, with Groen providing three base hits for the Knights, including a double and a home run. Grace Quiggle added double doubles and Grace Stock also had two hits.
Weiderholt picked up the win in the circle for the Raiders, throwing 4 2/3 scoreless innings of four-hit ball with six strikeouts. Borst took the loss after being charged with five earned runs on three hits and a walk in just one-third of an inning. Gernant allowed two runs over the final 6 2/3 innings on five hits and six walks while striking out 10.
The Raiders advance to Game 3 of the regional at 11 a.m. Friday where they will face host Illinois Wesleyan - a 15-0, 5-inning winner over Otterbein. The winner of Friday's game advances to Saturday's championship game, while the loser will face either Calvin or Otterbein in an elimination game at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.