Foresters Win Twice at Monmouth

Photo by Katie Frisbie
Photo by Katie Frisbie

Freshman Nicole Schussler belted her first career home run, one of the Foresters' three round-trippers on the day, as the Lake Forest College softball team swept a doubleheader at Monmouth College on Sunday. The visitors took the opener 7-2 and game two 9-3.

The Foresters' only homer in game one came off the bat of senior leftfielder Sydney Gardner with a runner on base in the top of the seventh inning. Gardner, who missed all of last season due to injury, cleared the fence for the seventh time in her career but  the first since the 2016 NCAA Tournament. 

Gardner also contributed to the Foresters' first runs of the contest. With her team trailing 2-0, senior shortstop Kat Beall began the top of the fifth inning with her 26th career double, tying her for 10th place in program history in that category. Junior rightfielder Abby King followed with a walk and the bases were loaded after an error allowed sophomore catcher Sydney Wyatt to reach base. A wild pitch scored Beall and, with one out, Gardner reached on an infield single to load the bases again. Junior centerfielder Maria Zepeda then hit a ground ball to the first baseman, whose throw home was wild and allowed two runners to score. A squeeze bunt by sophomore first baseman Riley Frisbie scored Gardner and gave Lake Forest a 4-2 lead.

Junior third baseman Alyssa Grimm singled ahead of Gardner's homer in the seventh and a single by freshman designated player Shaye Gauthier later in the inning drove in Zepeda, who had doubled, with the final run of the contest.

Lake Forest sophomore pitcher Missy Dieckman-Meyer earned the complete game victory striking out five Fighting Scot hitters while working around a walk and nine base hits, including four doubles. She improved to 9-3 this season and 22-9 in her career.

Beall and Gardner each had two hits in the opener and Frisbie and Schussler finished with three hits apiece in game two.

Monmouth took the early lead again in the second contest, scoring twice in the bottom of the first inning. 

Frisbie put the Foresters on the scoreboard with one out in the third on her third home run of the season but the Scots regained their two-run lead with a score in the bottom of the frame.

Lake Forest turned  two-run deficit into a two-run lead in the top of the fourth. The rally started when Beall reached on an error and Grimm followed with a base hit. After the first out of the inning, Schussler homered to left to suddenly give visitors the lead. Zepeda scored the final run of the frame, drawing a two-out walk and racing around the bases on a double by Frisbie.

The Foresters tacked on two insurance runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth. The first mini-rally started with a two-out double by Grimm, who then scored on a single by Gauthier. A wild pitch sent Gauthier to second and she came around to score on a double by Schussler. Frisbie doubled in Zepeda again in the sixth and was replaced on the bases by junior Diamond Owens, who later scored on a groundout by freshman shortstop Hannah Kalnicky.

Lake Forest racked up a dozen hits in the contest while junior pitcher Kyra Lenzi scattered seven while striking out 11 batters and walking three. Just one of the three runs she allowed was earned and Lenzi improved to 3-4 with a 1.84 earned run average this year.

The doubleheader sweep raised the Foresters overall record to 21-9 and Midwest Conference mark to 9-1. Monmouth fell to 17-13 overall and 6-6 in the league.

Lake Forest will be back on the road on Wednesday at Beloit College. Game one of the doubleheader will begin at 3:00 p.m.