The Buena Vista softball team played its home openers on Wednesday afternoon by hosting fifth-ranked Luther College, but the Beavers came up just short in both contests, losing by scores of 6-4 and 5-4, respectively.
BVU hung right with the Norse all afternoon, but couldn't get the big hit late in either game which could have pulled them even if not given them the lead. Luther jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opener with a two-run home run in the first inning before Kate Lesmeister drilled a two-run shot of her own over the fence in left center to tie things at 2-2 in the bottom of the second. The Norse regained the lead in the third with an RBI double and extended it to 5-2 in the fifth with their second two-run homer of the contest.
Mckynze Hansen singled home a run with one out in the sixth before Lesmeister drew a two-out bases loaded walk later in the inning to make it 5-4. The Norse got out of the bases loaded jam with a strikeout to end the inning and keep it a one-run contest before they tacked on a big insurance run in the seventh.
The Beavers got the tying run to the plate with one out in the seventh with the top of the order coming up, but a strikeout and a pop out ended the threat.
BVU finished with five hits in the contest as Lesmeister's long ball was the team's only extra-base knock. She also finished with three RBI.
Moriah Guyett suffered the loss after allowing three runs and four hits in just 3.1 innings of work. Marissa Promes came on to pitch the final 3.2 and allowed three runs and four hits while striking out three.
BVU tried to salvage the split in the finale as it went after its first league win of the year. It was a bit of a rough start as the Norse plated four runs in the top of the first on just two hits before ever recording an out. They still had runners at second and third, but Promes, who was back out in the circle to start the game, got a fly out, line out and a ground out to end any further damage.
Carlee Guyett singled home the Beavers' first run in the third with a hard ground ball right back up the middle but was thrown out at second after trying to advance on the throw home. Michaela Mason then doubled down the left field line to drive in one more run before then being doubled off second on a sharply hit line drive to third by Hansen to end the inning.
Luther extended the lead to 5-2 with a run in the fourth, but BVU got the run right back in the bottom half when Boland laced a double to left center to score pinch runner Cassy Miller all the way from first. Jeanne Bramhall pulled the Beavers to within a run in the fifth with a one out solo homerun to right center. It was her first of the year and her 14th career blasts which moves her within three of tying Sam Engleman for second on the program's all-time list.
After retiring Luther in order in the sixth, BVU got runners to second and third and just one out in the bottom half, but the Norse got a pop out and strikeout to end the Beaver threat. Promes worked around a one-out walk in the seventh to give the Beavers life in the home half. Bramhall walked with one out to bring the winning run to the plate. After Carlee Guyett popped out for the second out, Mason blooped a single into right center field with Bramhall running on contact. The ball landed between three Luther players, and Bramhall, who thought about trying to score, slipped and fell as she was rounding third base but couldn't get back to the base in time before being tagged out to end the game.
BVU had five extra-base hits in the contest. The Beavers outhit the Norse, 7-5. Bramhall finished 1-for-1 with two walks and a pair of runs scored. Taylor Frain also doubled and scored a run. Promes went the distance but came up short. She allowed five earned runs on five hits while also walking five.
Buena Vista dips to 15-9 overall (0-4 IIAC) and looks to bounce back when it hosts No. 23 Central College (17-7, 4-2 IIAC) on Thursday afternoon starting at 4:00 p.m. That doubleheader is the make-up from last week's snowout.