Positively Promoting the Student Athlete Since 1992

AVE MARIA, Fla.— With 9-2 and 1-0 triumphs over Ave Maria in a doubleheader on Wednesday, Southeastern closed in on first place in the Sun Conference. The Fire completed their 12th sweep of the season and improved to 12-4 in conference play, putting pressure on Warner and Thomas in the race to the Sun Conference postseason tournament.
Game one saw Southeastern utilize “small ball” techniques to gain an early 4-0 lead over the Gyrenes. The Fire, who only had one extra base hit on the day, got five of their first six hitters on base in the opening game.
Haliegh Harrell and Sam Holcomb continued their hot streaks by singling to get on base in the first. Following a well-executed double steal and an intentional walk, Kiah Ferrell drew a bases-loaded walk to score Harrell. After Britt Robinson then singled to score Harrell, Britney Schmidt drove in Brandee Pietrzak to cap off a three-run first inning for the Fire.
In the second, Kristin Mihalic walked and Lauran Watters singled to set up more impressive baserunning from the Fire. Watters stole second, which drew a throw from the catcher and allowed Mihalic to steal home, marking the second double steal in as many frames for Southeastern.
After two quick innings of action, Ramsey Sullivan and Harrell each notched RBI singles in the fifth by plating Jaz Szierer and Heather Faulk, respectively. Robinson, who ended game one 3-4, was escorted home on a Gyrenes error as the Fire led 7-0 through five. With the hits in the fifth, every SEU starter reached base successfully in the competition.
Following Brianna Perez’s one-out double, Southeastern looked to end game one in the sixth as RBI base knocks by Szierer and Faulk opened up a 9-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the inning.
Pitcher Hannah Bodenhorn exhibited wonderful poise in the circle through five innings of work. The junior, who leads the Sun Conference by averaging 9.39 strikeouts per game, fanned six and held Gyrene hitters to a mere 2-18 from the plate without surrendering a run. Southeastern’s bullpen was able to hold on by a score of 9-2, improving Bodenhorn’s record to 15-3 with the victory.
Game two featured a pitchers’ duel between Ashley Appell and Ave Maria’s Brooke Pierron. In a stunning shutout performance, Appell did not give up more than a single hit in any frame, as she moved to 17-7 on the year.
The Fire only recorded multiple hits in two innings, once in the second, when they stranded both runners, and again in the fifth, when they finally got to Pierron.
Four Southeastern batters reached in the fifth, nearly doubling the team’s total from the first four frames (5). Singles by Mihalic and Harrell, followed by a Watters fielder’s choice and one of Holcomb’s three intentional walks on the day, loaded the bases for Pietrzak. The senior delivered a clutch sacrifice fly to center driving in Harrell, which turned out to be the lone run of the second competition.
The Gyrenes threatened to tie the ballgame in the bottom of the seventh, but Appell coolly sat down the final two batters with a runner in scoring position.
Harrell and Faulk finished the day as the only players to register multiple hits in both contests. The freshman went 2-4 in both games, while the junior went 2-3 in each game.
Southeastern will continue its road trip with an important doubleheader at Thomas this Saturday, which will likely have postseason implications. First pitch of the matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m.