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The Carletonian

Softball opens season with .500 before Florida trip

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To say that Micaela LaRose (Sr./Waconia, Minn./Holy Family) had a spectacular first day of the 2015 softball season would be an understatement. Despite the Carleton College squad settling for a split—7-6 loss to UW-River Falls and a 7-4 triumph over UW-Stevens Point—the senior went a combined 7-for-7 at the plate, collected nine of the team’s 12 RBI on the day, and pitched a complete game victory in the win over the Pointers.

“We played solid defense and hit the ball well,” said Carleton head coach Amy Erickson. “If we do those two things, we will continue to be successful.”

In the top of the first inning of the season opener, Katie Eppard (Fy./Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) singled, stole second, and raced home on a LaRose double. That became a repeated scenario throughout the day. Eppard finished the two games with four hits, three steals, and seven runs scored, being chased home six of those times by LaRose, who closed game one 4-of-4 with five RBI, to match the highest single-game output by a Knight over the last six seasons.

The Knights (1-1) trailed 7-3 heading into the top of the seventh but refused to give up and plated three runs. The bases were still loaded with only one out, but the Falcons (2-0) turned a nifty double play to end the contest.

In the nightcap, LaRose was 3-for-3 with four RBI and kept the Pointers (0-1) off the scoreboard until the top of the sixth when the visitorsfinallypushedacrossapair of two-out tallies. LaRose got those runs back with a two-run single in the bottom of the frame, then sur- vived another UWSP rally by snagging a game-ending line drive with the tying run at the plate in the top of the seventh.

Caroline Duke (So./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) clubbed her first career home run, a two-out, pinch-hit bomb down the left-field line in the fifth inning.

Sadly an injury limited Cassie Clarke (Edina, Minn./Edina) to only eight games her rookie campaign, but the sophomore infielder is doing her best to make up for missed time. Clarke collected five more hits on Sunday—including a pair of home runs—to raise her season average .538. The Carleton College softball team played two more early season contests, defeating Millikin (Ill.) University, 10-2 in five innings, then dropping a 12-4 result to national No. 18 Lu- ther (Iowa) College.

In the day’s first game, Clarke snapped a scoreless tie with her first collegiate home run in the third inning. A stanza later, she went deep again, this one a grand slam over the left-field wall. She added a RBI single in the fifth, giving her seven RBI in the contest, the highest single-game total by a Knight since Michael Johnson drove home eight runs against Concordia on April 14, 2009.

That was plenty of run support for Keelin Davis (Jr./Woodinville, Wash./Woodinville), who notched her first victory of the season after fanning six over 5.0 innings in the circle.

Game two of the day pitted Carleton against nationally-ranked Luther. The Norse jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Knights countered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the second. Caroline Duke (So./Evanston, Ill./Evanston) highlighted the frame with a two-run double.

Luther put crooked numbers on the scoreboard in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, and Carleton was able to tally just one more run on the day, via a RBI single by Corrie Luchessi (Fy./Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech) in the fourth frame.

The Knights will step away from competition until heading to Clermont, Fla. for Spring Break. Carleton has a total of 10 games on the docket between March 19-25.

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