DECATUR -- The Millikin softball team clinched the CCIW regular season championship on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of Elmhurst.
Millikin finished the regular season with a 25-10 overall record, 22-7 in the CCIW.
The games also served as Senior Day, where seniors Maddie Holland, Cassidy Knoerzer, Kailey Pulec, Skielyr Trenkle, and Hannah Watts were honored.
Millikin took game one 10-3 with pitcher Aly Armstrong in the circle. The Big Blue put up a run right away in the first. Leah Foreman singled to left field and took second on a Blue Jay error. Camryn Skundberg knocked in the RBI with a single through the left side of the infield.
In the bottom of the second, the Big Blue tacked on three more runs to take a 4-0 lead. Holland reached on a fielder's choice to put a baserunner on with one out, stealing second and advancing on a Pulec groundout. An infield single off the bat of Trenkle plated Holland. Trenkle tallied the second stolen base of the inning for MU, then scored on an RBI single up the middle by Knoerzer. Knoerzer crossed the plate when Kaylee Goluch sent a single to left field.
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Elmhurst rallied back to chip away at the lead in the top of the third. Amaya Chavez reached on an infield single, then advanced to third on a Veronica Zahn single through the left side. A Big Blue error on a ball put into play by Mia Riese plated both runners.
Millikin added another run to the scoring column in the fourth on an infield single by Skundberg that scored Knoerzer, who reached on a single to right field.
Elmhurst matched the run in the top of the fifth to stay within two runs. Chavez singled to right field, then crossed the plate on a Jena Hicks double to right center.
No better feeling than clinching the CCIW crown on a doubleheader sweep!
— Millikin University Athletics (@MUBigBlue) May 1, 2021
The Big Blue extended their lead in the fifth, starting on Pulec reaching on an error by Elmhurst. Trenkle sent a ground rule double out to center, then an infield single by Knoerzer scored Pulec. Trenkle scored the seventh run of the day for MU on a Goluch single up the middle.
Millikin sealed the win and the conference championship in the bottom of the sixth, putting up three runs. Watts sent a single to shallow center, then advanced to third on a double down the left field line by Lexus Tennison. Pulec drew a walk to load the bases for Trenkle, and she delivered with a single up the middle that scored two. Pulec scored the final run of game one for Millikin when a ball put into play by Knoerzer was misplayed by the Blue Jays.
Knoerzer went 3-for-5 in game one, and fellow senior Trenkle was 3-for-4. The Big Blue scattered eight hits on the road to the 10-3 victory.
Armstrong picked up the game one win with nine strikeouts. Jena Hicks took the loss for Elmhurst.
As the visitors on the scoreboard in game two, the Big Blue fell behind early. Elmhurst knocked in two runs in the bottom of the third. Zahn singled to left field, and Alyssa Filkowski was hit by a pitch to put two runners on for the Blue Jays. Alana Batista doubled to center, scoring both runners.
Millikin used a six run fourth to pull ahead and never looked back. Holland started the rally with a home run down the left field line. Pulec followed with an inside the park home run, and completing the senior outfield trifecta, Trenkle sent a ground rule double to right center. Knoerzer marked the fourth senior in a row to pick up a hit in the fourth with a single through the right side of the infield to score Trenkle. Goluch picked up the fifth hit in a row with a double down the right field line, scoring Knoerzer. Cassie Reed drew a walk, and with Goluch stealing third, the Big Blue pulled off a double steal to score Goluch. Reed scored on a Skundberg RBI groundout to put the Big Blue up 6-2.
The Big Blue tacked on another in the fifth when Trenkle was issued a walk, stole second and rounded the rest of the bases for the seventh run on a Blue Jays error.
To finish out the game in the sixth inning, Millikin scored seven runs. Gretchen Gould entered the game and sent a single down the left field line. Watts hit a ground rule double out to left center, and Rylee Blake checked in with a sacrifice fly to center that plated Gould. Holland put another baserunner on for MU on an Elmhurst error, along with Pulec who reached on a fielder's choice. With the bases loaded once again for Trenkle, she picked up two RBI with a single to left field. Knoerzer recorded a triple to right field to score two, and the final two runs of the game came on a two-run home run off the bat of Goluch to left center.
Addison Sargent was the winning pitcher in game two, and Brianna Pisauro was credited with the loss for Elmhurst. Sargent only allowed four hits in her five innings of work.
Trenkle, Knoerzer, and Goluch each tallied three hits in the 14-2 six inning victory.
With the regular season coming to a close, the Big Blue softball team will be back in action for the CCIW Tournament, held Thurs., May 13 through Sat., May 15.
PHOTOS: The Millikin women's basketball won the 2021 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) Women's Basketball Tournament Championship defeating Illinois Wesleyan 72-59
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The Millikin softball team became CCIW Tournament champions on Saturday with an 8-0 victory against the Illinois Wesleyan Titans on Saturday, May 15. With the win, Big Blue softball earned its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1990.
Much of the Millikin student body has left campus for summer break, but the Millikin's softball team continued its season Thursday in the opening round game of the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament, facing Belhaven University at Workman Family Softball Field.