Eleventh-ranked Central was too much for Wartburg’s softball team Saturday, winning both games of the doubleheader before seven innings elapsed.
The Dutch, picked to finish first in the Iowa Conference preseason coaches poll, won 9-1 in six innings in the first game and took the second 8-0 in five innings.
Central (20-4, 2-0) scored four runs in the second to take an early lead and after the Knights (16-10, 0-4) got on the board on Amanda Hoeg’s RBI double in the fifth, the Dutch answered in the bottom half with three runs for a 7-1 lead.
Katie Canney, who transferred from Wartburg after her freshman year, went 2-for-4 at the plate in the opener with four RBI.
Taylor Smola was 2-for-3 for the Knights.
Rebecca Sieve took the loss, allowing nine hits and six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings while striking out three and walking one.
Mallory Schulenberg limited Wartburg to three hits and a run in four innings for the win.
Kaitlyn Matzen led off the bottom of the fifth in game two with a walk-off home run to reach the mercy rule as Central won 8-0.
Central scored four runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead. After being held scoreless in the first, the Dutch scored in the each of the last four innings.
Trisha Smith only allowed one hit and struck out five in five innings for the win.
Paige Blom took the loss, giving up seven hits and seven runs (six earned) while walking seven in 3 1/3 innings.
Kirby Meyer had the only hit for the Knights, who will look to bounce back Wednesday at Loras (12-12, 0-4), a series that could prove crucial in terms of IIAC tournament qualification.