LAKELAND, Fla.—No. 16 Grand View University used two extraordinary pitching performances to stunt Southeastern’s offense in back-to-back competitions. The Vikings (10-2) blanked the Fire 3-0 in game one, while SEU (21-10) came up short in the second contest by a score of 7-3.
On a day where Southeastern was held scoreless in 13 of 14 innings, Grand View put pressure on the Fire defense early in the first game by getting the leadoff runner aboard in the first three frames. A Fire error in the top of the opening inning allowed the Vikings to get on the board first.
Ashley Appell and Claudia Farrell both pitched strong games for their respective teams in the circle. Appell (11-7) went the distance against the 16th-best team in the nation, allowing only six hits while striking out two and walking one.
Farrell (5-0) fooled Fire hitters nine times, giving up a mere four hits and five base runners in seven innings of work. Southeastern was unable to string together any offense against Farrell in the competition, as the pitcher lowered her already impressive 0.28 ERA with a shutout.
After getting the leadoff batter on base for the fourth time in the game in the seventh inning, a two-run blast down the left field line by Lexie Biehl sealed the competition for the Vikings 3-0.
Game two featured a hot start from GVU, who struck for six unanswered runs in the first two frames. Biehl led off the contest with a solo shot to center, while the Vikings tacked on five runs in the second thanks largely to two SEU mistakes to go up 6-0.
Following four-and-one-third innings of scoreless softball, the Fire finally broke through. Southeastern, who had only registered one hit in the previous four frames, strung together four consecutive base knocks in the bottom of the fifth.
Kristin Mihalic and Britt Robinson singled to get on base before Lauren Watters sent a ball back up the middle, scoring Mihalic and grabbing a run for SEU. After Heather Faulk singled through the left side, Haliegh Harrell brought Robinson home, cutting the deficit to four. Brandee Pietrzak then singled up the middle to drive in Watters, but that’s where the rally would be cut short.
The Fire had a hard time elevating any hard-hit balls, grounding into 15 putouts on the day.
Libby Yenger, who pitched for the Vikings in the second contest, retired seven of the next eight Fire batters to seal the 7-3 victory.
Dayna McDonald came out of the bullpen to deliver three-and-one-third innings in relief of Appell. The freshman gave up only three hits and a single run, while Kiah Ferrell closed out game two by collecting two frames of no-hit pitching.
The Fire will travel to Miami Gardens for a Sun Conference doubleheader against St. Thomas on Saturday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.