by Tyler Oehmen
Clarke University's softball team opened its season over spring break last week with a trip to Kansas and the Crusaders return home with an 8-5 record. On the final day of their trip, Head Coach Jeff Lamb saw his squad go 2-1, falling to Bethany College 12-4 before sweeping Central Christian College.
In the first game on Saturday, the Crusaders were held to only four runs by the Swedes with all four runs coming in the fourth inning on a pair of two-run home runs by Sonia Colavita (SR, Hermosa Beach, Calif.) and Allison Waliczek (FR, Monee, Ill.).
Clarke changed the tide in the doubleheader against Central Christian College. The Tigers jumped out on top with three runs in the first, but the game would be tied at four by the end of the third inning. Central Christian would add three more in the fifth, but it would be the Crusader's six-run sixth inning that would put Clarke on top for good.
Clarke's Betsy Nauman (SR, Dubuque, Iowa) and Allison Thein (JR, Dubuque, Iowa) both went 3-for-4 with Nauman driving in four. Nauman and Maiya Tallakson (SR, Redondo Beach, Calif.) would both homer in the game. Nauman also added a double and Kasey Stenger (SR, Cedar Lake, Ind.) earned a triple. Thein and Colavita both swiped bases for the Crusaders. Clarke would take the game 10-9.
In the last game of the opening road trip, Lauren Akre (FR, Amboy, Ill.) pitched seven innings of one-run ball while striking out three. Akre was helped offensively by Colavita's three RBI including a home run. Nauman, Fiorini, Arns, and Tallakson each added doubles with Nauman, Arns, and Tallakson also stealing a base.
The Crusaders are set to hit the road again this week to head down to Canton, Mo. to square off against the Culver-Stockton Wildcats for a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Thursday, March 20. Clarke will begin conference play two days later with a doubleheader against William Penn on Saturday and AIB on Sunday.