MILWAUKEE – Junior Caitlyn Moran hit two solo home runs and the MSOE softball team pulled within one after trailing 6-1 but fell short against Marian in a 7-6 loss Thursday morning in the opening game of the 2017 NACC Tournament at Alverno College.
The Raiders (28-13) are back in action Friday morning in an elimination game at 11 a.m. while Marian continues on Thursday against Concordia Wisconsin.
MSOE nearly completed the comeback, putting the tying run in scoring position with just one out in the seventh inning. Sophomore Rachel Ziemba led off with an infield single and sophomore Emma Megal followed with another single. The runners moved up on a wild pitch after a strikeout and freshman Amanda Manssen drove in a run with a RBI ground out. An error then put Megal on third but Marian was able to induce a routine fly ball to left field to end the threat and advance through the winner's bracket.
The Sabres had jumped out to a 6-1 lead with three-run innings in the first and fourth innings. Moran did what she could to stem the tide, hitting a home run to left field in the first inning and then another home run to right-center field in the fourth inning to make it 6-2.
After MU tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning, the Raiders got to work with three runs in the bottom half of the frame to pull within 7-5.
A pair of runners reached base to lead off the inning and, two batters later, Ziemba plated a run with a single to left field. Megal followed with a bunt single to load the bases and prompt a pitching change. Moran was then hit by a pitch to force in another run and Manssen drove in a third on a fielder's choice.
Neither team scored in the sixth and the Sabres went down 1-2-3 in the seventh after a double play wiped out a lead-off single.
Ziemba went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the game. Moran and Megal had a pair of hits each while senior Kailey Smith reached twice on a pair of walks and scored a run.
Senior Shannon Curtis (18-7) threw 7.0 innings in the game, allowing five earned runs and striking out four. She did set a program single-season record in the process, increasing her total to 168. She had entered the game tied for the mark.