The Prairie Fire bats have been hot of late, and that was no different this weekend as the softball team took host Grinnell down twice on Saturday. Knox topped Grinnell 14-6 in the opener and amassed 16 hits en route to a 22-1 victory in just five innings. This offensive explosion came just two days after the Prairie Fire scored 16 runs on 22 hits against Monmouth.
The 22 runs Knox plated are the most against an NCAA opponent in the history of the softball program. The wins also extended Knox’s winning streak against Grinnell to eight games, which dates back to the 2010 season.
Grinnell’s four runs in the first game came on a wild pitch, an error and a pair of singles, which is good news for the Prairie Fire; if they can tone down the defensive mistakes, they have more than enough offense and pitching to carry the team to victory.
Sadly, the bats cooled down rapidly when the team travelled to Mount Vernon on Tuesday, as the team lost 9-1 and 11-0 to Cornell, both in five innings. (Source: Knox College Athletic Department)
Proving that early deficits are no issue, the baseball team took a pair of victories over Lawrence University after trailing 6-0 in game one and 1-0 in the second.
After trimming Lawrence’s 6-0 lead to 8-4 in the middle of the fifth, Knox exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the frame on RBIs from six different sources. After that, Knox simply padded the lead and ran off with a 19-9 win.
Game two saw nowhere near as many runs cross the plate; instead, the combination of seniors Paul Mills and Dustin Armstrong and junior Ryder Borre stifled the Vikings offense, allowing only eight hits and three runs throughout the game.
Sophomore Drew Osborn had an offensive explosion of his own over the course of the doubleheader, going 8/9 at the plate with three runs scored and two batted in, raising his average to .453.
Both Knox tennis squads ended their regular seasons with a contest against Millikin University. For the women, senior Dana Pierce fell short in number one singles 6-2, 6-1, while senior Laura Knight lost a tough number three match 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. The pair then lost their number one doubles match 9-7. The team ultimately fell 7-0 to Millikin, which ended the season for the women and the careers of Pierce and Knight.
On the men’s side, junior Walter Palmer, senior Jonathan Ng and sophomore Pragyaditya Mukerjee won their numbers one, three and four singles matches. Palmer and junior Karl Ruzgas snagged an 8-2 doubles win, while Ng and sophomore Dustin Loch also grabbed an 8-2 win in number two doubles.
This 5-4 win over the Big Blue extended the Prairie Fire’s season, as the men will compete in the MWC Singles and Doubles Championships April 26-27 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Track and Field
For both the men’s and women’s Track and Field teams, the University of Dubuque Open was a positive event. The men’s team came in fourth of 10 teams, while the women finished sixth of eight.
Knox won both the women’s and men’s 5000-meter races, as sophomore Elizabeth Reyes and freshman Josh Tvrdy came out on top. The men’s team got another win out of sophomore Ezekiel Jere, who came in first of 20 runners to win the 800-meter event in 1:59.58, a time good enough for seventh on the all-time top 10 performance list.
The Prairie Fire had plenty more impressive performances to come, as sophomore Carolina Goncalves came in second in the 800-meter run, junior Colleen Shelly came in second in the 400-meter hurdles, while sophomore Brian Cole and seniors Weston Chenoweth, Devin Compton and Tim Worrell all placed in the top five in their events.
The host University of Dubuque topped both the men’s and women’s standings.