After several long road trips the Minnesota State softball team has finally started NSIC play. The Mavericks traveled to Concordia-St. Paul Tuesday and went 2-0 against the Golden Bears. MSU beat out Concordia-St. Paul 5-1 in the first game and 10-2 in the second.
Head coach for the Mavericks, Lori Meyer, was extremely pleased with the way her team opened up conference play.
“Any time that you can go on the road, doesn’t matter what the team is ranked, and walk away with two wins that’s a positive and a great start,” Meyer said.
The first game of the two-game series started at 2 p.m. with junior pitcher Coley Ries taking the mound. Ries was recently named NSIC pitcher of the week for the second week in a row.
Going into Tuesday’s first game Ries had a 41.1 inning streak with no hits. However, that was broken in the bottom of the third when the Golden Bears scored their only run of the game.
MSU was able to put their first run on the board in the top of the third inning when senior Karli DesLauriers hit a single followed by a hit by freshman McKenzie Paap to get DesLauriers home.
The Mavericks were then able to score one run again in the fourth inning with a hit by junior Samantha Buhmann and two sacrifice bunts.
During the sixth inning the Mavericks really showed their scoring ability by driving in three runs. Junior Dana Mogren and Buhmann were each on base after two singles. Then, sophomore Kara Lattery got on base by an error. Sophomore Jess Meidl and junior Ashley Thell each recorded a hit to drive in the three runs.
Ries struck out five Golden Bear batters in the last two innings to secure the first NSIC win of the day for the Mavericks.
Coach Meyer knows Ries may have felt a lot of pressure on last year’s squad because of their young age, but this year it’s different.
“I think last year she assumed a lot of extra pressure because she was a veteran pitcher and she had a lot of Division II experience,” Meyer said. “But this year our team has much more experience and I don’t think she feels so much pressure. She knows what she has to do but she also has a lot of help.”
Senior pitcher Katie Koponen started the second game of the day for the Purple and Gold. In her first start of the season, Koponen picked up a win and struck out five batters.
The Mavericks scored right away in the first inning when Buhmann hit a single to right field to bring home Paap. The Golden Bears had an answer though and by the first the Mavs were trailing 1-2.
MSU tied Concordia-St.Paul in the second inning and continued their offensive success in the next four innings.
Lattery delivered a two-RBI single in the fourth to put the Mavs up 4-2. Meidl hit a single to score Buhmann for the final run of the inning for a 5-2 lead.
The fifth inning brought much of the same with three more runs and none for the Golden Bears. Mogren hit a huge three-run home run for an 8-2 score over Concordia-St.Paul.
Mogren made a huge move again when she hit a two runs in during the seventh inning to cap off the scoring 10-2. Mogren finished with game with an impressive 3-5 at the plate, three RBIs, a home run, a double and a stolen base.
However, coach Meyer wants to emphasis that individual players may play great games but in order for long-term success she needs everyone’s help.
“We need all 15 players, it’s #15Strong for us,” Meyer said. “We need to focus on our game, our offensive, our defense as a team. So in terms of one star, no, we have a whole team.”
The Mavericks are back in action for their home opener Friday at the MSU Softball Diamond. They will host St. Cloud State University for two games at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Friday.