After Sydni Hawkins got the Griffons going, Kelly Uthe took care of the rest.
The senior pitcher came two outs away from a no-hitter, tossing seven innings with six strikeouts as the Griffons completed the sweep in their doubleheader against Sioux Falls with 7-3 and 3-0 victories. This improved the Griffon’s record to 7-1 on the still-young season.
In the first game, it was Sioux Falls who went up 2-1 in the third inning on the strength of a two-run home run. The Griffons were able to respond immediately with four runs in the bottom half on a Chloe Armstrong single, a Taylor Hoelscher double and a Rian Gere two-run base hit to make it a 5-3 game. Brea Blanton tacked on two more runs the next inning to make it a 7-3 score. From that point on, Kaili Hinds kept Sioux Falls in check, going six innings with seven strikeouts. Natalie Kissinger came in for the seventh and finished the job for the Griffon winner.
The Griffons got going right away in the second game, as Hawkins’ lead-off home run gave the Griffons a lead they’d never relinquish. Two additional runs were tallied by the Griffons in the third. However, the story of the game was Uthe. Uthe, who had a 4.67 ERA in her first three appearances this season, was able to survive two walks in the first inning. From then on, she was nearly perfect. In fact, she was perfect from the second inning through the sixth, striking out six batters.
Uthe said she actually didn’t even realize she was flirting with a no-hitter until the seventh inning.
“I didn’t even know I was going to have a no-hitter until I looked at the scoreboard in the seventh,” Uthe said. “I had no clue.”
After Rachel Stewart caught a lineout, she committed an error the next at-bat. After walking the next batter, a chopper bounced over Uthe’s head and past a diving Stewart to end the bid. Still Blanton was able to gun down the runner at home to hold onto the shutout; and the Griffons got to ring the bell after a 3-0 victory.
Despite the strong 7-1 start, head coach Jen Bagley-Trotter still believes that her team has a lot of room for improvement.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well in the field,” Trotter said. “I’m glad we got two wins against a good team; and in a way that still wasn’t us at 100 percent.”