The Minnesota State Maverick softball team closed out their last three regular season series of the season this week, going 5-1 in six games. The wins earned them the regular season NSIC title.
The Mavericks played Southwest Minnesota State Thursday in their last home games of the regular season and won both games 5-0 and 3-2. Saturday they traveled to Wayne, Nebraska to take on Wayne State where they swept the Wildcats 5-4 and 9-0. Then Sunday to wrap up the weekend, MSU played Augustana in Sioux Falls and split the series 1-1, winning game one 3-1 and losing game two 14-3.
Thursday’s final home games against South West Minnesota State was originally scheduled for Wednesday but due to poor weather conditions, was moved to Thursday. The sudden change didn’t affect the Mavericks at all however, and they were able to fly past the Mustangs.
Junior pitcher Coley Ries earned the win for MSU in game one, which number 22 on the season for Ries. She struck out 14 Mustang batters and allowed just one hit. The Mavericks scored early in game one. Freshman McKenzie Paap scored in the first inning after hitting a triple and a SMSU error. The Mavs scored three more runs in the second inning and their last run of the game came in the fifth.
In game two against SMSU sophomore pitcher Libby Bemis earned the win for MSU, her thirteenth of the season. However, after five innings pitched and allowing three hits and two runs, Ries came in for relief in the sixth inning. This was Ries’ first save of the season, pitching two scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
MSU scored all three of their runs in the first inning of game two. McKenzie Paap hit again in the second game for the leadoff single in the first, followed by another single by senior Tatum Klein. Then junior Ashley Tell hit a two-RBI double to score Paap and Klein. Thell scored the last run of the first inning and the game after an RBI-single from sophomore Jess Meidl.
In Saturday’s road games against Wayne State the Mavericks had to go to 10 innings to pull out the game one win. Ries pitched all 10 innings and struck out 14 batters. After being tied 4-4 after the ninth inning, Thell delivered the game winning solo home run to get the win for the Purple and Gold.
In game two of the day, Bemis collected her second career no-hitter game for the Mavericks and they won 9-0. She struck out three batters and allowed just one walk.
Sunday in Sioux Falls the Mavericks started off the day with a huge 3-1 win against Augustana. Ries pitched and ended the regular season with 24 wins.
However, the Purple and Gold struggled in game two and lost 3-14 in just five innings against the Vikings. Bemis took the loos for the Mavericks.
To end the season the Mavericks hold an overall record of 40-13. At home MSU went 11-2, on the road 12-4 and on neutral sites 17-7.
Also to end the regular season Ries was named NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Week.
The NSIC Tournament starts Thursday, April 28 in Sioux Falls.
Photo: The Mavericks finished the regular season with a 40-13 (23-6) to claim the regular season NSIC title. (Yohanes Ashenafi/The Reporter)