First baseman Sarah Jones knocked in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning to help the Hope College softball team earn a 1-0 win at Saint Mary's on Saturday and split their doubleheader.
The Flying Dutch dropped the nightcap 8-6 to put their record at 21-11 overall and 9-3 in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play. They trail first-place Alma and Trine by two games with doubleheaders against both teams next week to close the regular season.
Hope broke a scoreless tie in Game 1. Second baseman Sierra Mutschler of Wayland, Michigan (Wayland HS) started the rally with a one-out single. Pinch-runner Alex Knorp of Livonia, Michigan (Adlai Stevenson) ran for Mutschler and stole second with two outs.
Knorp then beat the throw home after Jones, a junior from Norton Shores, Michigan (Mona Shores) singled to center.
Winning pitcher Sydney Jones of South Lyon, Michigan (East) faced a minimum three batters in Saint Mary's half of inning. Catcher Hayley Reitsma of Grand Rapids, Michigan (GR Christian) turned a sacrifice attempt after a leadoff single into a double play.
Sydney Jones struck out 11 and yielded five hits for her eighth shutout of the season — second most in Flying Dutch history behind Kelsey Guisbert's nine in 2005.
Sydney Jones also tossed her 16th complete game — tying her for eighth place at Hope with Guisbert, Deidra Enochs (2009) and Kim Grotenhuis (2000).
In Game 2, Saint Mary's (20-14, 12-4 MIAA) broke a 4-4 tie with four runs in the top of the seventh. Second baseman Kelsey Richards had a two-run single for the Belles.
Hope answered with a RBI single from Sammi Adams of Griffith, Indiana (Griffith) and a run-scoring double from Mutschler, but stranded Mutschler at second.
Adams went 4-for-4 with two runs scored.
Hope returns to action on Wednesday, April 26 with a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader against Alma.