The Minnesota State softball team began their season this past weekend inside the Maverick All-Sports Dome where they took on competitors in the MSU invitational tournament. Due to the frigid and unideal weather for softball that remains blanketed across the state of Minn., the softball team took advantage of the indoor complex on campus to begin their first games of the season.
The team played their first game against Northwest Missouri Bearcats and shut them out in six innings to earn an 8-0 victory. Senior pitcher Mackenzie Ward, the NSIC Pre-Season Pitcher of the Year, started the game for the Mavs and pitched all six innings while only allowing one hit in the shutout.
Senior shortstop Torey Richards led MSU’s offense in the game, sending in five runs off just three hits in the season opener.
The team then moved onto Saturday where they were set to face Washburn in their first game of two. There were four scoreless innings before anyone got on the board, and it was the Mavericks who tallied three runs in the bottom of the fifth to give themselves a lead heading into the final two innings of play.
A three-run home run by sophomore Madi Newman proved to be all the Mavs needed in this one despite one run by Washburn in the top of the sixth. Freshman Katie Bracken earned the win for MSU as the team moved onto Missouri Western.
Ward returned to the mound for Minnesota State for their game against the Griffons, allowing seven runs in five innings before remaining on the bench for the final two. A quick five runs in the first three innings proved to not be enough for the Mavericks, as the Griffons responded in the fifth inning with four runs of their own.
Missouri Western held on to their lead and tallied one more before the end of the contest to go home with a 5-8 win.
MSU then moved onto Sunday where they faced off against Washburn again. The Mavs came out on a mission despite a scoreless first inning, putting up 15 runs in a five-inning rout of Washburn 15-3.
The team then faced off against Lewis University in the final game of the weekend where they squeaked out a win in a close one. A four-run third inning began the scoring for the Mavericks, but the Flyers responded two innings later with five runs of their own to take the lead.
The Mavs tied it up in the bottom of the fifth and later tallied another one an inning later heading into the top of the seventh. In the final inning of play Ward came in to pitch for the Mavs, and shut out the Flyers to seal the 6-5 victory in their final match of the tournament. Bracken earned her second win of the season with the victory and Ward earned the save.
Next up for the Mavericks is the Emporia State Softball Classic next week in Kansas where they begin the tournament against Northwest Missouri once again.