INDIANOLA, Iowa – Abbie VanVleet struck out Miranda Chapman with the bases loaded to close game two, giving the Simpson softball team a 5-3 win against Loras and a sweep in Saturday's rain-soaked doubleheader. Simpson won game one 2-1.
VanVleet got the start in game two but faced only two batters, handing off to Kaytlyn Ernst after issuing back-to-back walks to start the game. She re-entered with two on, no out and Simpson clinging to a 5-2 lead in the seventh.
After a walk and a sacrifice fly, VanVleet fanned leadoff hitter Dani Stromert for the second out. She issued another walk, loading the bases for Chapman. After serving a steady diet of fastballs, VanVleet froze Chapman with a changeup on the outside corner for her first save of the season.
The win helped the Storm (26-8, 5-5 Iowa Conference) even their conference record and win their fourth in a row after losing 5 of 6 to start league play.
Ernst (3-1) gave up three runs – all earned – off three hits in six innings of work. She was pitching a shutout before Stormert hit a two-run homer to dead center in the fifth, pulling the Duhawks (16-16, 3-7) within 5-2. She left after walking the first two batters of the seventh inning.
Riley Fisher pitched a gem in game one, allowing one run off four hits in the complete-game effort. Fisher (12-3) struck out nine and retired the side in order three times.
Fisher helped her own cause at the plate, driving in Ashley Prettyman on a sacrifice fly to give Simpson a 1-0 lead in the fourth. After Loras tied the game with a run in the top of the fifth, Hailey Jensen brought in the game-winning run in the fifth on a double to right.
VanVleet went 2-for-3 as Simpson managed just four hits against Loras starter Holly Klein (8-9).
Prettyman, who recently became the school's career leader in doubles, added to her total with two doubles on the day, giving her 37 for her career ... much of game two was played in a light rain and the game underwent a 1 hour and 2 minute lighting/rain delay in the top of the fifth inning ... the sweep helped Simpson move into a tie for third in the conference standings after entering the day in fifth ... Luther (8-0) sits atop the standings, followed by Central (6-2) ... Simpson, Coe and Dubuque are all 5-5 ... Luther and Central will play a makeup doubleheader Sunday.
Simpson goes to Dubuque for a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 21.