Sophomore Missy Dieckman-Meyer and junior Kyra Lenzi tossed back-to-back shutouts on Thursday as the Forester softball team defeated visiting St. Norbert College 6-0 in the opener of the doubleheader and 7-0 in game two.
Dieckman-Meyer surrendered just three base hits to the Green Knights in game one. She struck out four batters without issuing a walk and St. Norbert did not have a baserunner reach third base in the contest. It was the team-high third shutout of the season for Dieckman-Meyer, who improved to 8-2 with a 1.56 earned run average this year.
Thursday's games was originally scheduled to be played at St. Norbert so Lake Forest was the visiting team. The opener was scoreless until the Foresters broke through with five runs in the top of the third inning. Junior rightfielder Abby King led off with a hard ground ball through the left side of the infield and senior leftfielder Sydney Gardner followed with a double to the gap in left. Junior centerfielder Maria Zepeda then cleared the fence in left-center for her first home run of the season. The rally continued with a one-out single by freshman designated player Shaye Gauthier and, two batters later, senior second baseman Kat Beall belted a home run to center. It was the first round-tripper of the season for Beall.
Lake Forest added one in the top of the fourth on an infield hit and stolen base by Gardner, followed by a run-scoring single to right by Zepeda. It marked the second time this seaosn that Zepeda matched her career-high with four runs batted in.
Zepeda, Beall, and Gardner each had two hits in the opener and Zepeda was joined by Gauthier and Kalnicky with two-hit performances in game two.
Zepeda was struck by a pitch to lead off game two, advanced to second on a groundout, and came around to score on a two-out single up the middle by freshman shortstop Hannah Kalnicky.
The score remained 1-0 until the top of the fifth inning. King led off the frame with a single up the middle and Gardner followed with a well-placed bunt for a hit. Both runners advanced on a passed ball and scored on a single through the right side of the infield by Zepeda. After advancing to second on the throw, Zepeda tagged up and went to third on a flyout and scored on a single by Gauthier to make the score 4-0.
Lake Forest put the game out of reach with three more runs in the top of the seventh. The inning began with singles by sophomore first baseman Riley Frisbie and freshman Erin Karasewski and Kalnicky reached on an error. Beall drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly, the second came home on a passed ball, and another St. Norbert error brought home the third.
Lenzi retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to finish off the Lake Forest pitching staff's second shutout of the day and seventh this year. The 2018 team is the first in program history to have four different pitchers toss shutouts and their total of seven ranks tied-for-seventh in school history. Lenzi scattered five hits and recorded three strikeouts without a walk in the game.
Lake Forest, which was ranked second in the Great Lakes Region earlier in the day, is now 18-8 overall this season and atop the Midwest Conference standings with a 6-0 record in league play. St. Norbert fell to 6-14 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
The Foresters will be on the road for a pair of MWC doubleheaders this weekend. The team will play at Illinois College on Saturday and Monmouth College on Sunday with both twin-bills beginning at 1:00 p.m.