PLYMOUTH, Minn. --- The Sabercats got off to a winning start for the 2017 season, as they posted a convincing 12-2 win over North Central University in a five-inning contest to open the NCU Dome Tournament. MBU closed the first day of the tournament with a pair of competitive losses (3-6, 6-13) to the Knights of Martin Luther College.
Hannah May and Katelyn Hockema each posted six hits on the day while Janae Jorgensen knocked in four runs. Jorgensen, May, and Harmony Bailey each registered triples in an exciting season opener for MBU.
In the first game, the Sabercats caught fire in the third inning, where they posted nine runs in the at-bat. Tina Kolinski showed her speed by stealing second and scoring off of Hockema's single, and the Sabercats kept the foot down from that point on, as two-base hits from Amy Miller and Maisy Alldredge were supplemented with triples from the freshmen May and Bailey.
The Sabercats cycled through the entire order and scored eight of their runs before being put out once by the Rams.
Brooke Campbell did her part in the circle to keep the Rams at bay. Campbell allowed just six hits and one earned run on the fast artificial surface.
Campbell tallied an RBI in the fourth inning when her sacrifice fly knocked in Janae Jorgensen, who had tripled to the gap in right-center. Then in the fifth, Michaela Trail brought in Hockema with a well-placed single down the right field line. When NCU only pushed one run across the plate in the fifth, the Sabercats had sealed the game by way of the run rule. (12-2)
The second game was more of a pitcher's duel, as the two teams combined for just 10 hits. The Sabercats started hot when May, Bailey, and Campbell all doubled in the first inning to push three runs across for MBU, but the scoring stopped there for the Sabercats. Martin Luther did just enough offensively to capitalize on their defensive momentum, as they scored three runs in a decisive fourth inning.
The Sabercats could not find an answer in their final three at-bats. Rebecca Pruss stayed strong in the circle for Martin Luther, and the Knights capped off their first win of the tournament in the tight game. Hockema and May each posted two hits to lead the Sabercats at the plate. (3-6)
The final game of the day would ultimately fall for the Knights as well. Both teams' bats were more effective in this contest, as the two teams combined for 31 hits over the seven innings.
While the Sabercats posted just one hit less than the Knights, it was Martin Luther who capitalized on the runners they put on base, as they scored 13 runs with their 16 hits. MLC scored six runs in the second inning, and steadily increased their lead with a couple of runs in three of the next four at-bats.
The Sabercats tried their best to fight back, and knocked in three runs in the third inning. Jorgensen smacked a double to left field to bring in Bailey and May, then Jorgensen herself came across the plate after a throwing error by the Knights.
MBU chalked two more runs in the sixth inning through hits from Kolinski and May, but the Knights ensured the win by answering with one run in the seventh. When the Sabercats had no solutions at the plate in the bottom of the seventh, the two games had fallen to Martin Luther on the opening day of the tournament. (6-13)
"I thought the girls played well today," said head coach Rob Thompson after the games. ". . . Especially with this being our first time actually on the field. We certainly had some challenges, but overall we did very well for our first day. Brooke Campbell kept her composure in the circle in the first game, Hannah May and Janae Jorgensen had very good days at the plate, and Amy Miller and Tina Kolinski also did very well for us defensively. Just getting on the field was good for us, and our overall performance was very satisfying. We are looking forward to what tomorrow brings."
The Sabercats have three more games tomorrow, as they will face North Central (8:50 a.m.), Finlandia (11:00 a.m.), and Martin Luther (12:50 p.m.).
Visit the team's schedule page (click here) for live stat information courtesy of North Central University Athletic Communications.