Thell, pitching paces Mavericks over Warriors

Minnesota State’s softball squad ended the Winona State Warriors’ undefeated streak in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference picking up the sweep on Tuesday in Mankato. Going into Tuesday, the Warriors were holding onto a 12-0 record in the NSIC but that was upended by another great performance on the mound from Coley Ries in game one and a huge home run by Ashley Thell in game two.

The Mavericks improve to an overall record of 34-6 while hanging on to an impressive 12-2 record in the NSIC. Winona State drops to 31-8 and 12-2 in the NSIC.

Game one of the double-header was a low-scoring affair, with the Mavericks earning a narrow, 1-0 win. Coley Ries (17-2) went the distance on the mound picking up the win while allowing just two hits and striking out 10 batters on her way to the shutout win.

Minnesota State’s game-winning lone score came in the first inning off a Samantha Buhmann single that advanced Amber Kral to second and scored Ashley Thell, who reached base on an error.

“It has been awhile since we have swept Winona State,” Head Coach Lori Meyer said. “We knew going into these games that it would be two intense hard fought games. Winona State is a very good team and McKenna Larson always pitches well against us. We were able to scratch out a run and hold on for the 1-0 win. Coley pitched a great game only allowing two hits and one walk, and those were the only base runners she allowed.”

Game two saw a lot more action and much more scoring from both sides, with Minnesota State winning 5-2. The tremendous showing of offense should be credited in particular to Thell, as she continued to show her importance on the offensive side of things picking up the game-winning run in game one and having the game winning at bat in game two.

Winona State reached the scoreboard in the first inning to state an early 1-0 lead. In the third inning, Thell got the Mavs rolling when she drilled a grand slam to score her, Jess Meidl, McKenzie Paap, and Alyssa Rickles in the process. The Mavericks scoring didn’t stop there, as the third inning also saw Buhmann pick up an RBI as she doubled to right center and Kral passed home plate for the score.

The Warriors picked up one more run in the fifth inning but it wasn’t enough, as the Mavericks walked away with the sweep. Libby Bemis picked up the win, striking out one batter and allowing seven hits in four innings. Coley Ries was credited with the save as she pitched three innings and struck out six batters while allowing one hit.

Minnesota State is back in action this weekend in more NSIC action as they take on Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State. Crookston is entering the weekend with a 11-22-1 record and 1-10 NSIC record while Bemidji State is holding a 17-10 overall and 7-5 NSIC record. Bemidji will play Concordia-St. Paul prior to facing the Mavs.

Minnesota State takes on Minnesota Crookston on at 2:00 and 4:00 PM on Saturday in Crookston and Bemidji State at 1:00 and 3:00 PM on Sunday at Bemidji.

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