IWU softball sweeps tournament competition at home

By Farah Bassyouni Apr 7, 2023

Supporting the Jan Gentry Memorial Scholarship, the Illinois Wesleyan University softball team hosted their annual IWU tournament on April 1- 2.

The Titans defended their title by sweeping the field and winning all three of their games and remaining unbeaten for the second straight year. 

7-2 victory over Wartburg College (10-10) on Saturday, April 1. 

The Titans opened tournament play by hosting their first game of the season against the Knights. Seven hits on the evening propelled the green-and-white offense, four of those coming off the bats of sophomores Ava Khoury and Jen Kuhn. 

“Beating Wartburg was huge for us, especially after losing to them last year in the NCAA regional tournament,” Khoury said. “We’ve worked really hard these past couple of months and it’s an awesome feeling to see it all coming together.” 

Khoury got the Titans rolling with a solo-homer to center field. The fifth of the season for Koury as she broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

“I’ve always found it beneficial to keep it as simple as possible and trust my training,” Khoury said. 

After a pair of hits and a throwing error on defense, freshman Claire Post had the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth to break the game wide open. 

She did just that. Reaching on a fielder’s choice she brought in two runs with yet another throwing error by the knights. 

Senior Nina Mardjetko locked down the circle for the Titans, throwing a complete game for her fifth win of the season. Mardjetko pitched around six hits while only giving up two runs and striking out seven batters. 

8-0 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Stout (6-15) on Sunday, April 2. 

Before the Titan bats caught on fire senior pitcher Natalie Grubczak got the start at the circle. 

Grubczak retired six straight through two innings with two strikeouts. Nine outs later Grubczak finished off her night pitching the complete five-inning game with six strikeouts, one walk and zero earned runs. 

A double to left center by junior Megan Fontanetta scored in the first run of the game, starting the streak for the Titans. 

One pitch later Khoury replaced Fontanetta at second with a double of her own, scoring in the second of the game. 

Khoury was one of three Titans with a double-hit game, freshman Claire Post singled twice, while junior Bailey Turner singled and doubled on the night. 

With the first win on Sunday, the Titans had used a total of two pitchers through two games. 

The seniors combined for 12 innings pitched, 13 strikeouts, five walks and two earned runs. 

“As an underclassman, I’m grateful to have leaders like them to look up to,” Khoury said. “These two are some of the hardest workers I know, and they each put so much time and effort into this program. When we see them pitch so well it motivates us to put runs on the board.” 

9-8 victory over DePauw University (5-16) in extra innings on Sunday, April 2.

The stage was set for a dramatic finish at Inspiration Field as the Titans went down 3-0 at the end of the top of the third inning. 

The Tiger lead didn’t last long. 

Plenty of pairs for the Titans as senior Madison Moore belted a two-run home run to left field. Shortly after Khoury continued the home run barrage with a two-run homer of her own to put the Titans up 4-3 at the end of the third inning. 

“Coach Kimmy tells us to hit the good part of the ball with the good part of the bat, so I’ve been telling myself that while I’m in the box and the results have shown,” Khoury said. 

A quick turnaround from DePauw saw them go up 7-4 at the top of the fifth. A Titan run at the end of the fifth cut the lead to two.

But the drama was far from over. 

Two outs and the bases loaded, junior Priscilla Peek was up to bat. 

A double down the left field line brought in two runners to tie it all up, an eighth-inning was on the horizon. 

Back-to-back walks by the Titans in the bottom of the eighth gave them the tournament sweep in a dramatic ending. 

With the three wins the Titans sit a game back from the .500 mark with a 9-10 overall record before conference play. 

“This team has such a strong sense of camaraderie and support for each other, every single role on this team is so important,” Khoury said. “The family-like environment is what will help us to be successful heading into conference play this weekend.” 

The Titans open CCIW play with their annual “St. Jude Game” on Saturday, April 8 hosting Wheaton College for a double-header.

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