LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Mount Mercy's offense erupted for 28 runs and 32 hits in a doubleheader sweep of Viterbo (Wis.) on Tuesday at the Viterbo Outdoor Athletic Complex, keeping the Mustangs in the hunt for a Midwest Collegiate Conference softball title with a week remaining in the regular season.
Junior right-hander Catie Flaucher (11-7) didn't need much help in the opener, scattering three hits and striking out seven in six innings in Mount Mercy's 13-1 victory. Senior third baseman Jacki Ciran, freshman left fielder LJ Putzier and freshman catcher Whitney Matlack each homered for the Mustangs, who totaled nine home runs in two games.
Ciran's grand slam was the big blow in a six-run sixth inning. Putzier finished 3-for-4 with two runs batted in. Matlack, freshman second baseman Brianna Sturtz, freshman first baseman Amanda Gaffey and freshman designated hitter Alexis Ferguson all had two hits apiece. Senior shortstop Brooklyn Schrader and freshman right fielder Hannah Petersen each scored three times.
Another tremendous sixth inning keyed Mount Mercy's 15-4 win in game two. The Mustangs hit five home runs during an 11-run inning that turned a tie game into a rout. Freshman catcher Carson Burgart homered twice in that frame to finish 2-for-4 with five RBIs and three runs scored. Petersen, Putzier and junior center fielder Erica Soppe also homered for the Mustangs, who finished with 16 hits for the second straight contest.
Soppe and Ciran tallied three hits apiece, Putzier was 2-for-4 with three runs batted in and senior designated hitter Sarah Hill went 2-for-2. Petersen (6-3) got the victory in relief of freshman righty Liz Moore, who surrendered four earned runs on five hits while striking out five in 2 2/3 innings. Petersen allowed no runs and two hits and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings.
Mount Mercy (23-12, 11-4 MCC) remains a half-game back of first place in the conference standings. William Penn (29-13, 11-3 MCC) leads the league, followed closely by the Mustangs and Grand View (17-20, 10-5 MCC). After a non-conference doubleheader at Ashford on Friday, Mount Mercy hosts Clarke (4-20, 0-12 MCC) on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and Grand View on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at Tomahawk Park.