By George Fladeland
KU softball has been on a roll to start off the 2015 season. The Golden Bears swept Mansfield University at the neutral site of Lyon Station on Sunday, March 25. In round one, Dominque Ficara pitched a one-hit shutout and Colleen Smith drove in the game winning single. In game two, KU won 6-1, and Savannah Nierintz improved to 11-0 on the year.
Mansfield did not stand a chance while Ficara was on the mound. Ficara’s only hit was given up in the first inning of the game. After giving up a walk in the third inning, Ficara put the final 17 batters back in the dugout. This enabled her first shutout of the season, and her first time throwing back-to-back shutouts since April 18-19, 2014.
The pitching duel between Ficara and Ashley Inman was intense, but the Golden Bears came out on top. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Blayse Cholish and Asja Saito helped get the win. Both Golden Bears hit back-to-back singles to move the runners into scoring position. Colleen Smith was clutch. Smith drove in Cholish with a center field single.
In the second game, Smith gave KU the early lead. In the first inning she hit a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. Smith would go onto drive in another runner in the third inning to take the 2-0 advantage.
In the fourth inning, Marissa Linquist hit her first career home run with a solo shot to give KU the 3-0 lead. The fifth inning led to more KU runs as Krista Schauder, the PSAC player of the week, hit an RBI single to stretch the lead to 6-0.
Nierintz was on fire from the mound by only allowing one run and a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning.
KU now sits 16-4 overall and 4-0 in the PSAC. These double-header wins have increased the winning streak to six. KU’s 16-4 start is at its best since the 41-1 start of the 2012 season.
The Golden Bears took on East Stroudsburg University on Tuesday, March 31 at 2:30 p.m. at home due to Monday’s postponed matchup.