Benedictine junior Alex Gilham pitches against Missouri Valley Monday at the BC Softball Field.  

Benedictine softball used successful at-bats early on against Missouri Valley to gain its fourth home sweep of the season Monday at the BC Softball Field.

The Ravens beat the Vikings 7-2 in the first game and 7-1 in the second game.

Coach Paul Hunt said his team knew Missouri Valley (10-11, Heart 3-5) could be vulnerable if Benedictine (16-10, Heart 8-2) could connect on pitches early in both games.

“We just knew they were going to be around the plate early,” Hunt said. “They aren’t over-powering so we needed to have an approach to jump on first pitch strikes and I thought we did a good job of that.”

The Ravens led 5-0 at the end of the second inning in each game. Senior catcher Regina Splane hit a grand slam in the first game to build that lead.

Senior Alex Burris hit a three RBI triple in the second game to help put Benedictine up 5-0.

“I think we were just seeing when they made mistakes early,” Burris said. “We did a good job of seeing it and driving it.”

Hunt also praised his team’s discipline at the plate.

“We also didn’t beat ourselves by swinging at pitches we didn’t need to swing at,” Hunt said. “We made pitchers throw us pitches to hit.”

Junior pitcher Alex Gilham continued her successful season by improving her record to 8-5 with an ERA of 2.40.

Hunt said that the junior has improved from last season in terms of maintaining a consistent level at the mound.

“She’s been great really throughout the year,” Hunt said. “Last year we struggled to find her consistency but this year we really challenged her. She’s responded to that and taken that very personal.”

Freshman pitcher Brianna Hoffman got the start in the other game and went five innings to earn her first win of the season.

“Long term we think she can be an ace for this program,” Hunt said. “She’s coming off a knee injury and this is just her third outing so far and we think she’s a big piece to our future.”

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