WAVERLY, Iowa - The University of Dubuque softball clinched an IIAC tournament spot last week and on Tuesday the Spartans moved to within one game of the conference lead after sweeping the Wartburg College Knights by scores of 9-5 and 8-4. The Spartans improved to 8-4 in the IIAC and trail the league leading Coe Kohawks (9-3) with just one conference doubleheader left.
The Spartans hit their way into an early lead in game one, and led 3-0 after three innings. UD scored in five out of seven innings, including adding four runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away. UD finished with nine runs on 17 hits, but did commit three errors. Four Spartans ended the afternoon with doubles in the victory. Ainsley Billesbach went 4-4 and finished with three RBI's and scored three times. Designated hitter Carlee Grunder was 3-3 at the plate and had an RBI. Teammates Amber Meyer and Caitlyn Aulwes both finished the day going 3-4 at bat. UD stranded 10 batters on base. Hannah Koerperich started the game on the mound and gave up four earned runs after pitching 3.1 innings. Megan Loes came in for relief and allowed just one unearned run after facing 17 Knight batters n 3.2 innings.
UD improved to 21-11 overall after collecting the victory in game two. The Spartans scored eight runs after earning nine hits and played errorless. UD scored first and stretched lead to 5-1 after four innings. Both teams added three runs each in the seventh inning. Tori Woltz grabbed three RBI's after collecting a double. Aulwes had the lone triple in the game. Meggie Schmidt and Koerperich both finished with two hits. UD left just four runners on base and the Spartan defense held six Knights on base. Amanda Williams earned the victory and went the complete seven innings. She faced 36 batters and allowed four earned runs in seven hits while striking out nine batters. She ranks fourth in strikeouts with 33 in 47 innings thrown in league action.
UD ranks third in the conference in team hitting with a .306 average. and a slugging percentage of .474. They also rank third in team ERA with a 3.31.
UD will host the #12 Central College Dutch on Saturday, April 26 for senior day at 2:00 p.m. Last season the Spartans finished fifth in the conference with a 16-18 overall and a 7-7 conference record.