Strong Pitching Paces No. 9 Luther College to 8-0 Victory over Softball on Thursday in Florida

CLERMONT, Fla. – Senior left-handed pitcher Annie Versnik threw a complete-game shutout and only relinquished four hits for the No. 9 Luther College softball team during an 8-0 triumph over Tufts University on Thursday in Clermont, Florida. 

Raven Fournier was on base twice with a pair of singles for the Jumbos.

The Norse (15-2) was led by juniors Natalie Stockman (2-for-3, home run, triple, five RBIs, two runs scored) and Anna Strien (2-for-2, two runs scored). Junior catcher Raven Fournier led the Jumbos (5-5) with a pair of hits. 

The Norse claimed compete control of the game early on with a five-run outburst in the bottom of the first. The squad loaded the bases with no one out, as senior Sara Nelson, junior Ashley Burrows and Strien reached on singles. 

Stockman then made her presence felt in the batter's box, drilling a bases-clearing triple, which gave Luther a 3-0 lead. Stockman crossed home plate on an RBI by junior Bailey Hocker.  The four-run, first-inning effort was not sufficient for sophomore Addy Pender, as she stepped up to the plate with a runner on second and two outs and tallied a single, scoring sophomore Blake Banowetz. 

Junior second baseman Samantha Siciliano tried to give the Jumbos some life in the second, as she posted a leadoff single. The Chatsworth, California, native then advanced to second with one out in the inning. Junior designated hitter Sara Willner-Giwerc entered the box with a runner in scoring position, as she drove a ground ball to the shortstop, and then the shortstop proceeded to put out Siciliano with a throw to the third baseman. A fly out to left field by senior center fielder Carrie Copacino ended the half inning. 

The Norse extended its lead in the bottom of the second, as all the damage came with two outs. Freshman pitcher Allison Tilton was able to get Nelson and Burrows to ground out to second base and shortstop, respectively. Strien prolonged the inning with a single, and then Stockman clubbed a two-run shot, extending the Norse lead to 7-0. 

Versnik kept the momentum going for the Norse, posting a 1-2-3 third inning, as she tallied her only strikeout of the game on senior captain Cassie Ruscz at the end of the frame. 

Tilton settled in for the Jumbos in the third and fourth innings, letting up no runs and only let two batters reach base. The Jupiter, Florida, native did not let the ball leave the infield during the fourth, as she forced a trio of ground outs. 

The Norse ended the game in the bottom half of the fifth, as the squad loaded the bases with no outs on a pair of singles and a walk. Freshman Paige Timmerman then drew a walk and senior Amanda Witzlib crossed home plate, as the run clinched the 8-0 triumph for the Norse. 

The Jumbos will compete in a pair of games on Friday, as they will face off against Hope at 9 a.m. and Fontbonne at 2 p.m., with both games being played in Clermont, Florida.

Written by Trevor Wenners, Athletic Communications Intern