After dropping a 13-3 decision to Reno on Thursday and losing 12-0 in the front end of a doubleheader with the Huskies on Saturday at Carson High School, it would have been easy for the Lady Senators to fold up their tent and not show up for game three.
But that wasn't the case and even though they lost the nightcap, 4-2, the Senators, now 6-3 in the Sierra League and 13-4 overall, ended up giving the Huskies (11-0, 14-2) a good go for their money.
Sophomore Nikki Keller went the distance for Carson in game two, giving up four runs, nine hits and two walks, while striking out four Reno batters.
"Nikki Keller just came in and pitched probably the best game I've seen her pitch," said Carson coach Scott Vickrey. "She was hitting her spots and keeping their team off balance."
The Senators got off to a fast start, with Christa Casci getting a leadoff single off starter Ashleigh Rahming. Senior Kaitlin Burroughs reached first on a fielder's choice when the Huskies failed to get out Casci at second.
Catcher Dacey Hassey singled in Casci and Burroughs later scored on a passed ball to give Carson a 2-0 lead.
Behind the arm of Keller, Carson kept the Huskies off the scoreboard until the third inning, when Samantha Puzey's RBI-double cut the Senators' lead in half.
Reno shortstop Brittain Murdock tied it at 2 with an RBI-single in the fifth inning, which could have been worse if not for some stellar defense by the Senators.
With the bases loaded and two out in the fifth, Burroughs made a diving catch of a liner to center to keep the score tied at 2.
Then in the top of the sixth, with Huskies on second and third, Carson third baseman Abby Rankl snagged a liner and tagged out a runner for a double play to keep the Senators in the game.
Puzey came in for Rahming in the fifth and allowed two hits in three innings of shutout ball.
Murdock hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to give the Huskies a 4-2 advantage, a lead that Carson could not cut into or overcome.
"They're a good team," Vickrey said of Reno. "You're going to hit the ball, but it's hard to put enough together. Their hitters, from top to bottom, are solid."
The Huskies proved that in the opener, belting out 15 hits in the 12-0 win.
Senators starter Cassie Vondrak lasted three innings, giving up six runs and 10 hits. Keller and Daria Leid each pitched one inning in the game, which was stopped after five innings because of the mercy rule.
"They just hit the ball. Our pitchers didn't pitch that bad a game," Vickrey said. "They hit Vondrak real hard. We put in Keller and she got her share of pain. Lied got some too, They hit the ball really well. We hit the ball well (for six hits), but not enough to come back from a 12-run lead."After a sweep by the Huskies, Vickrey remained optimistic.
"I told the girls, if nothing else this is a winnable game heading into zone," he said. "I'm a little disappointed with the way it turned out. Murdock and Puzey - they're the real deal."
The Senators will now prepare for a Saturday doubleheader with North Valleys at Carson High School.
"I think it helps us get ready for zone," Vickrey said of the series with Reno. "We have four weeks to gear up and start pressing hard. That last game showed (the Senators) that good teams will be playing ball when zone starts. You have to bring your 'A' game. If you don't, you're going to get beat and go home."