Coming off a series where the Mavericks were swept by the No. 1 team in the country, Augustana, the softball squad gets ready to play Concordia-St. Paul tonight in their fourth straight series on the road.
The Mavericks improved to No. 18 from last week’s rank 20 after going 2-2 in a pair of series against Wayne State and Augustana. MSU holds a 17-6 record throughout the year, while remaining in eighth in the NSIC standings with a 6-4 conference record.
Their opponents, the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears sit a few spots ahead of the Mavericks with a 7-3 record in conference play, despite having a 13-11 overall record. CSP had a similar week to the Mavs last week, playing Augustana and Wayne State on the opposite days that MSU did, dropping both games against the Vikings, and taking one out of two against the Wildcats.
Although Minnesota State has the advantage throughout history with a 54-20-2 record, CSP took the previous two games by scores of 4-0 and 4-3 in St. Paul.
Through 23 games this season, the Mavericks have scored 132 runs, averaging 5.74 runs per game. Carly Esselman leads the effort with 22 runs scored on the year, while responsible for 12 more RBI’s. Esselman ranks third on the Mavericks with a .405 batting average and leads the team with eight doubles.
Torey Richards leads the team in batting average with .447 reaching on almost half of her 76 at bats. Her batting average is good for seventh in the NSIC. She also has the eighth highest OB percentage with .500. Richards continues her great batting performance with a steady eye, drawing seven walks, tied for the most on the Mavs.
Minnesota State has a third batter that stays above .400 at the plate in Hannah McCarville, currently batting at a .429 average, good for ninth in the NSIC this season. McCarville has been swinging for the fences all season long with the second most home runs on the Mavericks with four, right behind Sydney Nielsen with five.
Not only do the Mavericks excel in batting, but they roster two of the best pitchers in the NSIC in Mackenzie Ward and McKayla Armbruster. Ward holds a 10-3 record on the year, while Armbruster is at 7-2.
Ward leads the NSIC in earned run average with just 1.39, .41 lower than anyone else in the conference. Ward also leads the conference in opposing batting average with .171, batter struck out with 136, is second in striking out batters while looking with 39, and tied for third with total wins on the year with 10. Ward has put up dominating numbers her senior season and looks to continue her performance tonight against Concordia-St. Paul.
Armbruster has been having a phenomenal freshman season with a 7-2 record. She is seventh in the NSIC in ERA with 2.29 and is tied for eighth in wins in the conference. Armbruster had a rough outing last week against Augustana allowing five runs and six hits in just 2.0 innings pitched, but will try and bounce back to her usual self this week.