It took nearly a month, but the McPherson College finally completed its suspended game against the University of Saint Mary.
It took nearly a month, but the McPherson College finally completed its suspended game against the University of Saint Mary. And Thursday's 9-6 McPherson win at Wall Park came with some extra-special significance as it gave the Bulldogs a school-record 23rd win.
The game was originally halted after one inning due to weather on March 26. The Spires (15-23, 8-6 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) had left the bases loaded in the first, while the Bulldogs (23-21, 9-9 KCAC) left one before the rains came.
Saint Mary immediately went on the offensive when the contest resumed Thursday evening. Alana Renshaw led off the second inning with an infield single, then stole second and reached third on a bunt single by Cassidy Harbert before scoring when McPherson catcher Erica Almaraz threw wide of third base on a failed pickoff attempt.
McPherson responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Sydney Lang started off the frame with a single to left and moved around to third as a couple of Saint Mary fielding miscues loaded the bases. The Bulldogs tied the game on a Chelsea Conrad RBI single, then took the lead later in the inning on a two-run single by Judith Salazar.
The Spires retook the lead with three unearned runs off Lang in the third, then added single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to build a 6-3 lead.
The Bulldogs began to slowly claw their way back into the game in the bottom of the sixth. Pinch-hitter Christie Betker reached on an error, then moved around on singles by Katie Holmes and Azaria Romero. Saint Mary nearly escaped without any damage when Harbert made a diving grab on a comebacker off the bat of Conrad, but her attempt to double off Betker at third was late. That gave McPherson the opening it needed.
Jessica Jones hit a two-run single up the middle to make it a one-run game, then Salazar put the Bulldogs in the lead with a three-run home run to left. McPherson preceded to reload the bases after the home run on a Kortney Jones walk and back-to-back singles by Ali Smith and Betker. Jones made it a three-run lead following Betker's single by alertly racing home when the throw from Carrie Lee in left field hit the field umpire and fell out of the reach of a Saint Mary fielder.
Betker came on to pitch in the top of the seventh and retired the Spires in order to pick up a rare save.
Lang allowed five runs — just one earned — on eight hits and a pair of walks while striking out five in 3 2/3 innings but was not around long enough to garner a decision. She now has 186 career strikeouts, just four off the program's career record of 190 set by Katie Logan from 2009-12. Betker — who earlier this season set the single-season strikeout mark — is not far off with 143 strikeouts.
Kylee Martin served as the bridge between Lang and Betker, allowing just one run on a hit and a walk while striking out three in 2 1/3 innings to get the win.
Samantha Torres took the loss, allowing seven runs - four earned - on four hits over a pair of stints totaling 1 2/3 innings. Starter Carrie Lee pitched a total of four innings, not allowing a run on three hits and two walks, but did not factor into the decision.
Harbert, Kayla Hackney and Torres each had two hits, while Hackney and Maddison Carr had the only two RBIs for the Spires.
The 23 wins surpasses the total posted by the 2011 squad en route to a 22-26 mark. The win was also the ninth in league play, tied for second-most in program history (2007, 2012) behind the 10-4 mark posted by Mike McCormick's 2003 KCAC co-champions.
"With this game starting in the second, it was a little bit different mind set," said head coach Ashley Spencer. "We knew we had to attack early and often on the offensive side, while being clean on defense. Our players stepped up to the challenge tonight. It was a great win over a good team."
The Bulldogs close out the home schedule Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Bethany College (19-26, 7-11 KCAC) at Wall Park.