LINCOLN, Neb. — Calmer winds and sharper pitching carried the Central College softball team to a 5-1 victory over Nebraska Wesleyan University Sunday and a 2-1 edge in the teams’ three-game series.
Punishing winds caused havoc on Saturday when Central (15-10 overall, 12-8 American Rivers) was run-ruled 10-2 in six innings before scoring 11 unanswered runs in an 11-6 win.
Morgan Schaben (sophomore, Portsmouth, Harlan HS) got the decision Sunday with 3.1 innings of relief, giving up a run on four hits with no walks and a strikeout, improving to 4-3. Sydni Huisman (sophomore, Treynor) threw the first 3.2 frames, holding Nebraska Wesleyan (12-19 overall, 10-13 conference) scoreless on three hits and two walks with one strikeout.
“Morgan got behind the hitters a little too much but her off-speed stuff was really effective, especially in contrast to a hard thrower like Sydni,” coach George Wares said. “Sydni didn’t feel great (after pitching Saturday) and her velocity was down but she made some adjustments and we got some good innings out of her.”
Wares also liked the team’s offensive production, outhitting the Prairie Wolves, 10-7. The Dutch used small ball to break on top in the first as center fielder Sara Tallman (senior, Pella) walked, stole second, moved to third on a force out and sprinted home on right fielderFranie Burnett’s (freshman, Ankeny, Centennial HS)bunt single. Tallman also drove in two runs with a double in a three-run fourth inning and pinch-hitter Emma Lowden (sophomore, Winterset) knocked in a run with her first collegiate hit. Burnett added an RBI single in the seventh.
“We’re getting timely hits,” Wares said. “We gave Franie the bunt sign (in the first inning) and she placed it perfectly.”
Tallman, Burnett and shortstop Daria Parchert (senior, Illinois City, Ill., Rockridge HS) each had two hits. Tallman also stole two bases, giving her 11 for the season and 112 for her career, two shy of the school mark set by Daniela Grob (1997-2000). Tallman’s hits moved her into a tie for fourth place on the school career list with 192 and she climbed into third in runs scored with 143.
“It was good to see Sara Tallman doing Tallman-like things,” Wares said. “We’d like to see her finish her career as strong as she can and go out on a good note.”
Central plays the modified season’s final league series starting Thursday with a 3 p.m. doubleheader with Buena Vista University at the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex field. The third game of the series won’t be played until Sunday at 1 p.m. to accommodate the Beavers’ attendance at the school’s commencement ceremonies Saturday. Buena Vista is 15-17 overall and 7-13 in the conference after dropping a 6-5 decision at the University of Dubuque Sunday as the Spartans recorded a three-game sweep. Central also has a non-conference home twinbill with Bethel University (Minn.) Friday at 2 p.m.
A video webcast and live stats of the games can be accessed through the Central athletics website at athletics.central.edu.
“We’ve just got to try to win as many games as we can and put ourselves in the best possible position for the conference tournament,” Wares said.