Runs were hard to come by for the Buena Vista University softball team Saturday, as the Beavers lost a doubleheader to Coe.
The Beavers were shut out 7-0 in game one, as talented Kohawk righthander Amy Ernst tossed a three-hit shutout.
"Ernst is probably the best pitcher in our league at this point," said BVU coach Marge Willadsen. "She throws very hard and has a lot of movement on all her pitches."
It was more of the same for BVU in game two. They notched just four hits in a 4-1 loss.
"Coe might be the best team in the conference," added Willadsen. "But we just didn't execute with the bats and made some costly errors. We had to play catchup all day."
With the two losses, BVU dropped to 2-4 in the Iowa Conference and to 11-13 overall.
Willadsen says her team is suffering some growing pains. Saturday, she started freshmen at shortstop and third and two in the outfield. "We know this team has a great future ahead of it in the next couple of seasons," she said. "But in no way are we giving up hope for this season.
"The conference is very strong and extremely balanced. Because of that, I think we'll see a lot of upsets along the way and a lot of doubleheader splits. With the talent we have, we can be right in the mix if we play well."
In game one, Coe took control early, scoring four runs on five hits and an error in the bottom of the first off BVU starter Sarah Dirkx. The Kowhawks added one run in the bottom of the third and two more in the fifth to complete the game's scoring.
Ernst was nearly flawless in the first three frames, striking out four of the first six hitters she faced. She went the distance to improve to 13-3 on the season, striking out ten and walking one.
The Beavers had a mild threat in the top of the third. Trisha Porter started the inning with a walk, then first baseman Brooke Bousum reached on a throwing error, putting runners on first and third with no outs. Ernst struck out the next three hitters.
In taking the loss, Dirkx dropped to 4-7 on the season. She yielded 14 hits, but just two of Coe's seven runs were earned. BVU made two costly errors in the contest.
Leftfielder Molly Luchtel, catcher Ashley Partlow and Bousum all had hits for BVU.
The Beavers played from behind in game two as well. Coe scored a single run off freshman pitcher Brandi Sykora in the first and added three more in the bottom of the third.
Coe righthander Sarah Marting got the mound win, giving up just four hits, but didn't strike out a BVU hitter.
BVU scored its lone run in the top of the sixth. Luchtel led off the inning with a single and was bunted to second on a fielder's choice by second baseman Katie Onken. She scored on an error.
Sykora, 7-6, finished strong, giving up just one hit over the last three innings, and recording no walks.
BVU plays two crucial conference doubleheaders this week- hosting Simpson Tuesday and play at Dubuque on Saturday.