QUINCY -- Karli McLaughlin watched the Quincy University softball team come up empty after loading the bases with no outs.
The Hawks didn't get many more opportunities in their opening game of a Great Lakes Conference Valley doubleheader against Lewis, losing 8-0.
"We can't leave runners on like that," McLaughlin said.
So when the junior catcher dug into the batter's box in the bottom of the fourth inning of the nightcap, she remembered that missed opportunity.
McLaughlin laced a single to score Jessica Poore from second base to break a scoreless tie and help QU earn a split with a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Mart Heinen Complex.
"We needed a run because (QU pitcher Meghan Quirk) was pitching a heck of a game," McLaughlin said. "We needed to have her back and get some runs on the board."
Quirk needed to get out of a couple of jams to secure the split for the Hawks (6-8, 1-1 GLVC).
The Flyers (12-7, 1-1) loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fourth after Carolyn Nojiri singled, Carley Maupin walked and Kendyl Strack reached on a bunt down the first-base line. Quirk got out of the jam unscathed after working a fielder's choice to get Nojiri out at home, then striking out Emily Espinosa and getting Kaylee Prieto to line out to third.
"In a situation like that, I really just take a deep breath," Quirk said. "I go to the back of the circle, pause and just breathe. The big part of the game is thinking. What I just needed to do in that situation was just pitch and be smart about the situation."
QU centerfielder Dana Walsh extended the lead to 2-0 when she hit a leadoff homer to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning. Lewis, however, answered in the top of the sixth when Strack scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Prieto.
Quirk's approach was the same in the top of the seventh when Lewis got two on with one out. Quirk worked a lazy flyout to right and a lineout to third end the game and pick up her first victory of the year. She threw all seven innings and allowed one run on six hits. She struck out one and walked five.
"(Quirk) did a nice job of throwing seven," QU coach Carla Passini said. "That's the longest she's been in. When her changeup is working, she's pretty tough."
QU had just five hits despite the victory.
"The biggest thing for the team is we can win a close conference game," Passini said. "That builds a lot of confidence knowing they can close out a game."
QU was held to just five hits in the opener while Lewis banged out 15. The game was scoreless until the Flyers plated three runs in the top of the third inning. DeMasi smacked a two-run homer -- her third of the season -- and Sanders added an RBI double to left.
Sanders picked up the victory after throwing five scoreless innings and allowed just five hits. She helped herself with three hits and five RBIs.
"We just couldn't get too low," Quirk said. "Our motto is to bounce back. Yeah, we lost, but at the same time, we have to erase that and approach the next game with a clean slate."
Lewis 8, Quincy 1
Lewis 003 023--8 15 1
QU 000 000--0 5 0
Sanders and DeMasi; Griskell, Quirk and McLaughlin. WP--Sanders. LP--Griskell. 2B--Lewis 3 (Sanders 2, Nojiri), QU 1 (Greene). HR--Lewis 1 (DeMasi).
Quincy 2, Lewis 1
Lewis 000 001 0--1 6 0
QU000 110 x--2 5 2
Schweickert and Strack; Quirk and McLaughlin. WP--Quirk. LP--Schweickert. 2B--Lewis 1 (DeMasi), QU 1 (Jones). HR--QU 1 (Walsh).