INDIANOLA, Iowa - The 18th-ranked Simpson softball team closed its trip to the Rebel Spring Games on Friday, beating Framingdale State 4-0 before falling to No. 21 Rowan 5-0. The Storm won their first 16 games of the season before going 2-2 to close the trip, returning home with an 18-2 mark.
Head coach Henry Christowski's squad came within one win of tying the best start in school history, set by the 1998 team that started out 17-0. The first loss of the season came on Thursday, March 12, a 7-4 setback against No. 6 Illinois Wesleyan.
#18 Simpson 4, Farmingdale State 0
Abbie VanVleet tossed a two-hitter, striking out four to improve to 9-0. Stacie Brown tripled and scored in the first, giving VanVleet all the breathing room she needed. Taylor Davis went 2-for-4 as all four Simpson runs were due to Ram errors.
#21 Rowan 5, #18 Simpson 0
Mia Baldassari went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a run-scoring triple in the third as the Profs blanked Simpson. Morgan Smith added a two-RBI single in the third, giving Rowan three runs in the inning. Riley Fisher went the distance in the loss, her second to a top-25 opponent. Fisher (7-2) struck out three and gave up four earned. Ashley Prettyman went 2-for-2 at the plate and Brown went 2-for-3 for a Storm offense that stranded 11 runners.
Simpson hosts a pair of doubleheaders against Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foes the weekend of March 27 to open the home slate. Saint Benedict opens the schedule Friday, March 27 and Gustavus Adolphus comes to Indianola on Saturday.
Rebel Spring Games Notes
- While the bats got all of the attention at the Finlandia Dome Tournament, pitching and defense took center stage last week. After hitting .391 in six games in Michigan, the bats cooled to .284 in Florida. The pitching staff remained steady, posting a 1.40 ERA in Florida (1.14 in Michigan).
- VanVleet continued her tear in the circle, going 7-0 with a 0.45 ERA with five complete games and four shutouts in 46.1 total innings. Maybe most impressive is the fact that she struck out 30 batters while allowing just two walks. She is 9-0 on the year with a 0.62 ERA.
- Fisher drew the short straw in having to pitch against both top-25 teams the Storm faced. She went 4-2 with a 1.85 ERA in Florida and is now 7-2 on the year. Against opponents outside of the top 25 she is 7-0 with a 0.78 ERA.
- Despite a drop in offensive production, Simpson still had five players hit .300-or-better: Rachel Guessford (.372), Tori Haag (.367), Taylor Davis (.360), Ashley Prettyman (.324) and Grace Hall (.300).
- Jensen had a team-high nine RBIs, Guessford had eight, and Haag and Fisher each hit home runs. Prettyman led the way with five extra-base hits.
- It seems like a long time ago now, but Christowski is still increasing his career wins total. The 20th-year skipper earned his 600th career win in the first game in Florida (March 6) and is now 611-202-2 during his career.