Cougars drop double header to Finlandia
The University of Minnesota, Morris softball team played one more nonconference doubleheader on March 31, falling 17-5 and 5-2 to Finlandia at the Plymouth Dome.
It was the Cougars' first action since opening the season with a pair of losses to Macalester on March 6 and going 0-8 during spring break in Clermont, Fla.
Morris had leads in each game, but couldn't keep Finlandia from the big innings, which were eventually the difference.
The Cougars jumped ahead 5-0 in the first game, mixing in three hits while taking advantage of three Lion errors in the first inning. Laura Lhotka, Kelli Hamilton, Mercedes Klimek, and Jordan Iverson all had RBIs in the inning, with Klimek and Iverson also hitting triples.
The Cougars were unable to sustain the offense, however, and a seven-run third from the Lions started a rally of 17 runs over the final three innings before the game was called after five innings with Finlandia winning 17-5.
Morris starter Kelli Hamilton was roughed up for 16 hits in suffering her fourth loss of the season, taking credit for nine of the Lions' 17 runs.
In the second game, neither team broke through until the Cougars went up 1-0 in the third when Shelby Johnsrud drove home Mandy Allman. Cougar starter Mariah Essig was cruising though the early part of the game, and kept the Lions scoreless through four, allowing Morris to add another in the top of the fifth on the first career homerun from Iverson.
After going up 2-0, though, Finlandia came back with five in the bottom of the fifth, with the bulk of the damage done on the one-out homerun from the Lions' Kayla Sax.
The five runs were all the Lions would get, and all they would need as they held the Cougars scoreless for the final two innings, closing out the 5-2 win.
Brittany Garland won both games for the Lions, pitching every inning of both games in moving to 15-5 on the season.