MILWAUKEE (WLCSports.com) - The Wisconsin Lutheran College softball team picked up two key NACC wins Sunday afternoon after sweeping the Alverno Inferno 4-2 and 6-3 at Alverno Field. The victories clinched a NACC Tournament berth and put the Warriors in the postseason conference tournament for the first time since 2014.
- Final Scores: Wisconsin Lutheran 4, Alverno 2; Wisconsin Lutheran 6, Alverno 3
- Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (17-19, 12-10 NACC), Alverno (14-24, 6-16 NACC)
- Location: Alverno Field, Milwaukee, Wis.
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS
- After two innings of scoreless softball, the Warriors got on the board in the top of the third inning when Ellen Davis (Greendale, Wis.) doubled down the left field line, scoring Megan Belongia (Ashwaubenon, Wis.) and Gracie Wilson (Deerfield, Wis.)
- Alverno got a run back in the bottom of the fifth after an RBI single up the middle, bringing the hosts within one run.
- In the top of the sixth, Karah Ritacco (Chicago, Ill.) led off the inning with a single up the middle then Abby Mahsem (South Milwaukee, Wis.) followed with a double to center field, placing runners in scoring position for Taylor Bjork (Horicon, Wis.). Bjork ripped a single to right center field, scoring Mahsem and Ritacco, pushing WLC's lead to 4-1.
- Alverno's comeback effort fell short in the bottom of the seventh inning after scoring one run on a WLC error, but the Warriors hung on for the 4-2 victory.
- Mahsem earned the win in game one, going 7.0 innings while allowing just one earned run and striking out eight. The complete-game effort was the 16th of the season for Mahsem, while she completes the regular season with 152 strikeouts and an impressive 1.93 earned run average.
- Davis and Bjork each drove in two runs for the Warriors in the opener.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS
- The Warriors jumped out to an early lead in game two, with Mahsem singling home Ritacco and Belongia, who reached base earlier in the inning. Bjork reached on an error later in the inning, scoring Mahsem and giving WLC a 3-0 lead after one.
- WLC put three more runs on the board in the top of the third inning after another RBI single from Mahsem that scored Ritacco, followed by a bases-loaded walk from Brea Johnson (Cumberland, Wis.). Wilson capped off the inning with a single to left field that scored Maddie Lindemann (Watertown, Wis.), who walked earlier in the frame, pushing Wisconsin Lutheran's lead to 6-0.
- Alverno put up its first run of the contest in the third after an RBI double from Mary Kate Sulikowski that cut the Warriors' lead to five, then an RBI single from Samantha Chapnick in the fourth inning brought Alverno within four.
- The Inferno added another run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Warriors lead was too much to overcome.
- Jessie Rago (Elgin, Ill.) earned her fifth win of the season in game two, allowing two runs over 5.0 innings.
- Mahsem posted a 3-for-3 effort with three RBIs while Ritacco added two hits.
FOR THE FOES
- Three different Inferno collected hits in game one while Ashlie Rossi took the loss, allowing four earned runs over 7.0 innings.
- A trio of players registered multiple hits in game two while Olivia Schneider collected the loss, allowing three earned runs in 2+ innings work.
- The Warriors, who have earned the No. 6 seed in the 2018 NACC Tournament, will face No. 3 Aurora Thursday, May 3. The Spartans (24-14, 16-6 NACC) and Warriors split their two contests earlier this season in Aurora. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at Alverno Field in Milwaukee. Live stats and video will be available at WLCSports.com. This marks WLC's fourth appearance in the NACC Tournament.