Patience pays off: Austin sophomore gets game winning hit in the 14th inning

Published 8:51 am Friday, May 2, 2008

Although they were scheduled to play a doubleheader, the Austin softball team played the equivalent of a tripleheader as they needed 21 innings to sweep Owatonna at Todd Park Thursday.

The Packers (6-6 overall, 5-4 Big Nine) gutted out a 6-5 victory in 14 innings in game one and took the second game 7-1.

In the first game, Austin’s sophomore catcher Brandi Ruroden came up with a two-out game-winning base hit to center field to score Sara Sundberg in the 14th inning, who led the inning off by reaching on an error.

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Ruroden was 0-of-5 with a walk heading into the at-bat.

“I just went out there and hit it,” she said. “I felt I was due for one and I smoked it out there.”

The Packers almost ended the game in the bottom of the ninth, when pinch runner Rachel Donavan was thrown out at home plate trying to score from second on a base hit with one out. Austin left the bases loaded in the inning.

“Donavan did a good job of hustling,” Austin head coach Steve Knox said. “It was a close play and she made it close. It was nice that we could stay focused after that.”

Sophomore pitcher Rebecca Swancutt, who earned her first win of the season in a split against Winona Tuesday, started the game and lasted just over six innings for Austin. Autumn Jurgensen came in and pitched eight shutout innings in relief, allowing just two hits and never letting the Huskies mount a serious threat.

“We’re very fortunate we have two pitchers,” Knox said. “Swanny did a good job in the first six innings and it was nice to see Autumn come in and pitch well with her experience.”

The second game was a little less dramatic for Austin as sophomore first baseman Ashley Crump crushed a two-run double deep into left field in the fourth inning to give the Packers a 2-0 lead they would not give up. Their defense made some stand out plays to help the cause.

Sophomore right fielder Sara Sundberg made a jumping catch in the second inning and she made a nice catch and quickly threw out a Huskie runner at the plate in the third inning to save a run.

Knox said his starting pitcher appreciated the effort.

“After the game Autumn went and complimented the defense saying ‘I didn’t strike out many and you guys made all the big plays.’ That’s a sign of an experienced player. When they know they need help, rather than trying to do it all themselves,” he said.

Ruroden’s game winning single was set up by a sacrifice bunt by Tana Lukes and a single by Jolene Brody. The Packers had led 5-4 in regulation, but Owatonna tied it up in the sixth inning.

In all the 21 innings took a toll on Ruroden as she spent both games in the catcher’s stance.

“My knees hurt,” Ruroden said. “But Autumn really helped me out. She talked to me a lot.”

Austin 6, Owatonna 5

Austin pitching: Rebecca Swancutt, 6 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 K; Autumn Jurgensen (W), 8 IP, 2 H, 2 K

Owatonna pitching: Ellen Heydon, 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 R, 1 K; Juli Smith 9 2/3 IP (L)

Austin hitting: Sara Sundberg, 1-of-6, 2 R; Tana Lukes, 1-of-4; Jolene Brody, 2-of-7; Autumn Jurgensen, 0-of-3; Brandi Ruroden, 1-of-6, RBI; Maggie Jorgenson, 1-of-5; Kaycee Lukes, 2-of-6; Brittney Hoban, 2-of-6; Sara Alms, 2-of-5, RBI; Emma Arboe, 0-of-0, RBI

Austin 7, Owatonna 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E

Austin 0 0 0 2 3 2 0 7 11 2

Owatonna0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 4

Austin pitching: Autumn Jurgensen (W), 7 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K

Owatonna pitching: Juli Smith (L), 5 2/3 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 K; Ellen Heydon, 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 K

Austin hitting: Sara Sundberg, 1-of-4, double; Tana Lukes, 2-of-4; Jolene Brody, 3-of-4, double, RBI; Autumn Jurgensen, 1-of-3, BB, 2 RBIs; Brandi Ruroden, 2-of-4; Brittney Hoban, 1-of-2; Maggie Jorgenson, 0-of-1, 2 BBs; Ashley Crump, 1-of-4, double, 2 RBIs; Emma Arboe, 0-of-3

Owatonna hitting: Chantel Skala, 1-of-3; Breezy Pitan, 1-of-3; Rachel Olson, 0-of-3; Jaci Sears, 2-of-3, 2 doubles; Cailyn McCauley, 0-of-2; Steph Hale, 0-of-2; Libby Osmundson, 0-of-2; Juli Smith, 0-of-2; Leah Bird, 1-of-2; Ellen Heydon, RBI