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Ellis shows no signs of slowing down

Maybe she should be a little rusty.

After all, Leigh Ann Ellis hadn’t pitched since Sunday, after completing spring break with an 8-2 record. It had been a week since her history-making back-to-back no-hitters.

Could the time off affect the fire-throwing southpaw against Maine? Quite simply, no.

It took Ellis just an hour and a half to send Maine to defeat with one hit in the first leg of a Thursday doubleheader. The Bulls beat the Black Bears 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel during which five total hits were recorded.

The Bulls’ strong pitching didn’t leave the field with Ellis. In Game 2, Nicole Christensen and Gail Callinan combined to allow five hits and hand the Black Bears a second straight shutout. Christensen started, giving up five hits in three innings.

Bulls coach Ken Eriksen said he is happy at his team’s consistently strong pitching performances. He said he is especially excited to see the shutouts.

Offensively, the Bulls had enough to win. In the first game, the Bulls got a big hit at the right time. Sarah Watson slapped a double, driving in Samantha Ray for the game’s only run.

In the second game, the Bulls jumped out quickly to a two-run first inning lead. Courtney Lewellen connected on the game’s first base hit to drive in Renee Oursler, who walked. Moments later, Holly Groves hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Shelly Riker.

The Bulls added a run each in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Oursler scored another run on a Lewellen sacrifice.

In the fourth, a Ray base hit drove home Christie Chapman. The Bulls managed six hits for the game.

Eriksen credited the Bulls’ slow offensive day to good Maine pitching and defense. He said several hard-hit potential base hits were fielded by the Black Bears in both games. He also said the time off might not have helped.

“Having Monday and Tuesday off, (we looked) a little bit rusty,” Eriksen said.