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Cougars close out home softball schedule

The University of Minnesota, Morris softball team has closed out the 2010 regular home season with two wins over Presentation. The Cougars went 4-2 to improve to 8-3 in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, almost assuring themselves a post-season birth.

UM-Morris 20

Crown 0

The Cougars batted just four innings in a 20-0 win over Crown in game one Friday.  First-year player Kali Cordes went the distance, allowing only three hits to Crown, while striking out five and walking none.

UMM's top four batters accounted for 16 RBIs, led by lead-off hitter and centerfielder Liz Leuty who drove home four.  Ally Obernolte, Heidi Miller, and shortstop Britney Glisczinski each had three RBIs apiece.

The Cougars stormed out of the gate, picking up six runs in the first inning, abetted by two Crown errors, two walks, and two wild pitches.

In the third, UMM tallied eight more runs, sparked by a bases-loaded triple from Glisczinski.

UM-Morris 9

Crown 1

In game two, first-year player Emily Mehr got her first start of the season since joining the team last week.  She responded well, giving up just four hits and striking out four.

Again the top of the order provided the scoring punch.  Leuty, Obernolte, Miller, and Glisczinski batted in seven runs combined.

UMM used a seven-run second inning to make the difference.  All the runs were scored with two outs.  Following a groundout from Mehr and pop up by left fielder Ashley Splonskowski, the Cougars strung together seven consecutive hits to put the Purple Storm behind them.

Northwestern 9

UM-Morris 1

The Cougars ended a good run at home, dropping a pair of games to visiting Northwestern College Saturday.

In game one, defensive errors led to big Northwestern innings late, breaking open a close game.

Cordes went 4.2 innings, relieved by sophomore Kelli Hamilton who finished the final four outs before the eight-run rule ended the game after the sixth.

Tied with zeroes in the top of the fifth, the Eagles exploded for six runs, stringing together several hits and picking up extra at bats due to two Cougar errors.

Though UMM took back one run in the bottom half, Northwestern scored three in the sixth, again helped by two Cougar errors. 

Northwestern pitcher, junior Ashley Olson, threw a complete, five-hit game.

Northwestern 11

UM-Morris 5

Mehr took the hill in game two, going seven innings.  Mehr also collected two hits along with Leuty and sophomore second baseman Tasha Johnson.

Both teams got on the board in the first inning.

The Eagles scored three times, helped by two UMM errors.  The Cougars responded with two runs in the bottom half.  Leuty scored on an RBI single from Glisczinski.  Glisczinski scored later that inning on a wild pitch.

Both teams cooled down until the fifth inning when the Eagles tallied three more runs.  But the real damage came in the sixth, when Northwestern added five more runs.

The Cougars tried to rally in the bottom halves of the sixth and seventh, but could only manufacture a single run in each inning.

UM-Morris 7

Presentation 0

The Cougars swept Presentation College Wednesday, closing out their 2010 regular home season.

The sweep was a fitting sendoff for catcher Julie Rohling, who was honored between games as the Cougars' lone graduating senior this season.

Cordes dominated game one, throwing a complete game two hitter, striking out two, and walking four.  She allowed only one Presentation player past second base (in the sixth inning).

The run support for Cordes was slow coming, but arrived in time in the fifth inning during a scoreless tie.

Splonskowski led off with a single, stole second and came home on a base hit from Leuty (who now leads UMM with 35 hits this season).  Rohling walked and then stole second.  The throw from the catcher was high and Leuty scored on the overthrow. 

Glisczinski singled home Rohling and moved to second on a follow-up hit from Johnson. 

Another walk and a wild pitch, and Glisczinski scored to make it 4-0, which was plenty of cushion for Cordes who saw just four batters in the bottom of the seventh.

Leuty and Johnson led the UMM offense, going 3-for-4.

UM-Morris 21

Presentation 4

Game two exploded with a 12-run first inning as the Cougars cruised to a 21-4 win in five innings.

Sophomore Kelli Hamilton earned the complete game victory, striking out three and giving up just six hits.

In the first, the Cougars were aided by two untimely Saint errors, which kept the inning alive.  The Cougars nearly made two runs through the batting order while Leuty, Rohling, Johnson and right fielder Heather Briese would all score twice.

UMM added another nine runs over the next two innings to put the game out of reach.

Ten Cougars had hits in the game and ten Cougars scored runs.

Leuty went 3-for-5 to make for a 6-for-9 afternoon.  Johnson led UMM with three RBIs in the second game.

This weekend the Cougars travel northeast for weekend doubleheaders with Northland College and St. Scholastica.