Senior Jessi Werner and junior Jenny McTague combined on a three-hit shutout as the Lake Forest College softball team blanked visiting Aurora University 1-0 in the opening game of the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament on Friday.
Werner started and surrendered just two base hits while striking out six in four-and-two-thirds innings. McTague came on with runners on second and third and two outs in the fifth, escaped the jam, and retired seven of the eight batters she faced to earn her third save of the year. Werner improved to 17-4.
The only run of the game was scored by sophomore leftfielder Sydney Gardner, who led off the bottom of the third inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Alex Hemmer. Two batters later senior first baseman Sally Snarski singled to center and Gardner raced home with the only run the Foresters would need.
Hemmer had a double and freshman centerfielder Maria Zepeda a single later in the game as the home team out-hit the Spartans 4-3.
Lake Forest improved to 29-12 on the season while Aurora fell to 32-13.
The University of St. Thomas (39-6) edged out the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (28-13) 3-2 in Friday's other first round game. The Foresters will take on St. Thomas in game three Saturday morning at 10:00. Aurora and Whitewater will then play the first elimination game of the weekend at 12:30. Game five between the losing team in the first game of the day and the winner in the second is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. and the final game or two will be played on Sunday.