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Spartans wrap up spring trip

CLERMONT, FLA. – Manchester University sophomore pitcher Maureen Lund (Huntington, Ind.) registered her third complete game win in four Florida starts to highlight the final day of the Spartans' 2013 spring break trip.

Lund fired seven innings of six-strikeout ball, helping lift the Black and Gold (5-5) to a 7-6 win over regional rival Hope College of Michigan. She was aided by a 10-hit offensive attack that started early on.

MU plated two runs in the top of the first on the heels of a two-run single from freshman first baseman Mackenzie Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.). The roll continued in the third when the line-up batted around, scoring five runs with freshman designated hitter Kaile Niezgodski's two-run single highlighting the rally. Hope did manage a pair of scores in the third, three in the fifth and one in the seventh, but Lund and the Spartans stymied each comeback attempt.

Sophomore outfielder Shannon Stephan (Granger, Ind.) registered three hits in game two. Sophomore shortstop Emily Willmann (Montpelier, Ind.) ended with two hits and two runs scored.

In game one, a fleet College of St. Catherine's group took advantage of their speed and timely hitting to open a 9-2 lead on the Spartans through four innings. MU finally struck at the Wildcats' pitching staff in the home half of the seventh.

After RBI singles from freshman Alyssa Barr (Franklin, Ind.) and Willmann trimmed the margin to 9-4, Niezgodski stepped and drilled a pitch over the center field fence to score three runs, making the count 9-7. A walk to Stephan put the tying run at the plate, but CSC was able to thwart the rally any further from that point.

Manchester University returns home for its next scheduled date Wednesday, March 27, against Grace College of Warsaw, Ind. It's the beginning of a busy stretch of six games in four days, as they then travel to Albion College of Michigan Friday, March 29, and open the 2013 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference schedule Saturday, March 30, at home against Mt. St. Joseph.

NOTES:  Four players hit .300 or higher in the Sunshine State. Stephan led the quartet at .389, while Williams was second at .333, junior center fielder Kaitlyn Schmidt (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was third (.316) and junior infielder Alicia Cleveland (LaGrange, Ind.) was fourth (.300). … Lund's pitching line for the trip included 19 strikeouts and four complete games. … The Spartans' 4-4 Florida record marked the fourth time in the last five seasons they've .500 or better on spring break week.