(Editor’s note: Carroll College media release)
MISSOULA – A change of scenery didn’t slow the Fighting Saints down on Monday, as Carroll College swept a triple-header against Eastern Oregon at Grizzly Softball Field in Missoula.
And on the first day of April, the Saints (12-16, 5-10 Cascade Collegiate Conference) weren’t about to become fools – though head coach Aaron Jackson did his part to play a joke.
“It wasn’t good enough,” Jackson told his squad after the 3-0 series win, holding his laugh back as long as possible. “I got about five seconds in and that’s all I had.”
Ali Williams delivered a gem of a performance on the mound in Game One, as the Saints took the win 7-2. Carroll had to rally in the second and third games, but made the clutch plays to secure the sweep.
“First I think what’s prepared us for this weekend is the weekends before,” Jackson said. “Last weekend at OIT we fought just like that. It just didn’t go our way. We began to believe we could overcome and have the faith that could good things would happen.”
The Mountaineers took the lead early when Haley Ebner knocked a single to score one run.
The lead would be short-lived, however.
Carroll started off the game with three consecutive singles, as Amber Brewer brought the first run of the game for the Saints across the plate. Courtney Schroeder hit a sacrifice fly to bring in a score and the Saints led 2-1 after the first inning.
Carroll would add to that lead when Brooke Yarnall drew a walk in the second inning. Anna ApRoberts slapped a RBI double to give the Saints a 3-1 lead.
The Saints exploded for three more runs in the third inning. Schroeder singled to score a run. Then Yarnall drew a RBI walk. Anna ApRoberts plated another run when she hit another single in the inning.
Eastern Oregon got a run back in the fourth inning when Jordan Henley hit a RBI single.
Carroll tacked one more run on in the fifth when Yarnall stole second, which allowed Tianna Sell to steal home plate.
Ali Williams pitched the entirety of the game for Carroll, allowing nine hits, two earned runs while striking out eight and walking none.
“I thought Ali threw her best game of the year,” Jackson said.
In the second game, the Saints and Mountaineers battled to a standstill at 3-3 midway through the game. EOU added a run in the fifth and sixth inning to put the Saints on the ropes.
But Carroll rallied.
The Saints rolled off three doubles to start the inning, Amber Brewer’s and ApRoberts’ each scoring a run. Jackson elected to pinch hit Natalie Gaber, who came up clutch with the walk-off single to win the game, 4-3.
“Big pinch hit from Natalie,” Jackson said. “That’s what you want to see out of a pinch hitter. Get up there and hack and, put one in play and it got through and won us that game.”
Eaton got the win on the mound for the Saints in Game Two, throwing a complete game while allowing six hits and five earned runs, while recording three strikeouts and walking five.
“Tess battled through a head cold and a hurt hand,” Jackson said “Really I thought pitched well, but just a ball got under her glove.”
In the third game, the Saints jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Kendall Mooney hit a RBI single.
Eastern answered immediately and then built a 3-1 lead by the third inning.
Carroll responded with a four-hit inning in the fourth. Williams slapped a RBI single. Jessica Nimmo hit a RBI fielder’s choice to tie the game at three.
Carroll got the deciding run in the sixth inning. Megan McCormick hit a sacrifice fly RBI and the Saints held on for a 4-3 lead.
Brooke Brown got the win pitching in the third game. She went 6.2 innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs, while striking out four and walking four.
“Brooke, that’s the best performance we’ve had from her all year,” Jackson said. “We put her on the shelf for a couple of weeks and let her get re-focused. That’s what you want to see from her when you do that.”
Carroll is scheduled to play Northwest Christian in Helena this weekend.