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Cougars shut out Crown in softball double header

The Cougars won twice in impressive fashion Saturday, heading home with a pair of shutouts, 9-0 and 12-0 on the road over Crown.

Kelli Hamilton and Mariah Essig each pitched three-hit shutouts, while the Morris offense scored early and often in taking each game in five innings. Hamilton moved to 3-6 on the year, while Essig improved to 4-5 winning her third-straight start.

After giving up a two-out single in the third, Hamilton retired the final seven batters she faced, throwing a perfect fourth and fifth.

Essig allowed a leadoff single in the fourth, before sending down the next six straight to end the game, also striking out eight on the day.

Crown meanwhile, couldn't slow down the Morris bats, giving up 22 total hits on the day, with 10 in the first game and 12 in the second. For the second straight day, the Cougars scored in the first inning of each game, jumping quickly out to leads they would never lose.

With 22 hits and 21 runs, it marks the most productive doubleheader of the season for the Cougars, while the two shutouts and six combined hits allowed make it also the best set of games for the pitching staff.

The Cougars started slow in the first game, holding a 1-0 lead until going up 3-0 after the third. Heading into the fifth up 4-0, they put away any thoughts of a Storm comeback with five runs in the inning.

The second game was never in doubt, as the Cougars went up 8-0 after seven runs in the second. Thirteen batters went to the plate in the inning, with the Cougars doing their damage on six hits. Laura Lhotka was 2-for-2 in the inning, part of her three on the day.

Chelsea Brown led the team with four hits over the two games, including a pair of doubles and two runs scored. Heather Brown, Kelsey Draper and Lhotka all finished with three, while seven total players finished the day with multiple hits. Heather Brown's three RBI also led the team.

Winners of five of their last six, the Cougars now get to return home for four straight doubleheaders next week, with three in conference action. It all starts Wednesday when they host Presentation at 3 p.m., a team the Cougars have already swept this season.