Minnesota State softball had a near sweep on the weekend as the Mavericks came out of a four-game stint, winning three of the four Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) games. The victories were accentuated by freshman Amber Kral, as she hit two home runs over the course of the games to bring her tally up to 11 on the year, leading the NSIC in that category. The Mavs improved to 32-6 on the year while dropping to 10-2 in conference action.
The lone loss for the Mavs came in a split against Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs on Saturday in Duluth. Minnesota State picked up a 4-0 win in the opening match up but the Bulldogs picked up an 8-5 win in the second outing of the double-header.
Senior Coley Ries picked up the win in game one while allowing just two hits and striking out 14 batters. Ries pitched a complete game on her way to improving to 14-2 on the year.
It was a home run affair for the Mavs, as three of their four runs came off homers. Kral got the scoring started fast as she set the Mavs up with a two-run homer in the first inning to go up 2-0 early. McKenzie Paap scored on the homer. The homer was the freshman’s 10th of the season, which leads the NSIC.
Samantha Buhmann drilled one of her own in the third inning to bring the lead up to 3-0. Kral earned her third RBI of the day after a single to center to score Ashley Thell to wrap up the scoring.
The Mavs finished with 11 hits and no errors.
Game two saw the Mavs fall into a fast deficit as the Bulldogs went up 7-0 by the end of the third inning. Thell swatted a solo shot in the fourth to give the Mavs their first score while Jess Meidl hit a two-run home run in the fifth. Thell scored an unearned run shortly after but the rally ended there.
“As a pitching staff, we talk about minimizing the damage and not allowing the big inning to happen and we did not do that in game 2,” Head Coach Lori Meyers said on the Mavericks giving up six runs in the third inning.
Libby Bemis took the loss, pitching four innings while allowing eight hits and striking out five batters. Bemis drops to 14-4 on the year. The Mavs finished with seven hits and one error.
After splitting with the Bulldogs, the Mavs would sweep the St. Cloud State Huskies on Sunday in St. Cloud. The Mavs picked up a 9-4 win in game one while notching the 8-0 win in game two.
Ries led the way in game one, picking up the win and going 15-2 on the year after allowing just one hit and striking out eight batters in six innings.
“She is a student of the game and plays with such passion. She makes everyone around her a better player and to play at a higher level,” Meyers said on Ries.
The Mavericks pounded away and didn’t allow a Huskie score until the seventh inning. Kral drilled a three-run homer in the seventh inning to bring her season tally up to 11 on the season. Kral finished two-for-four with three RBI’s, while Paap followed closely behind going three-for-five with two RBIs and one run scored.
Minnesota State capped off its great weekend with Bemis pitching the shutout win in game two. Bemis struck out three batters while allowing five hits.
“I thought Libby pitched a good game and we needed her to rebound and pitch well and with confidence after having two tough back-to-back losses,” said Meyers.
Buhmann drilled her second home run of the weekend in the third inning to help the Mavs go up 4-0 early. Krall also continued her great weekend, scoring two runs while going two-for-three.
Minnesota State will take on Winona State in NSIC action today at The MSU Softball Diamond. The first game will start at 1:30 p.m. and the second game at 4 p.m.