Softball improves to 18-6 with sweep over SMSU

The Minnesota State University, Mankato softball team played host to Southwest Minnesota State last Thursday in a pair of non-conference games at the Maverick All-Sports Dome in Mankato. The Mavericks came into the games with a 16-6 overall record and have yet to play in any Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) games. 

The Mavericks got things rolling in the first inning of game one as sophomore infielder and catcher Sydney Neilsen and freshman infielder Cheyenne Behrends tallied RBIs on sacrifice bunts to claim a 2-0 lead. Nielsen would score again later that inning on an error by the Mustangs’ center-fielder Emily Tatur as the Mavs took a 3-0 lead after the first inning. 

The Mustangs got one back in the second inning, cutting the Mavericks’ lead to 3-1. MSU responded in the third inning tallying three runs which were highlighted by a two-run RBI single by sophomore utility Madi Newman. 

SMSU would get another run back in the top of the fourth inning, cutting the Mavs’ lead to 6-2. The floodgates would open in the bottom of the fourth as MSU added nine runs and put the run rule into effect with a dominant 15-2 lead. 

Senior pitcher Mackenzie Ward picked up her 12th win on the season, pitching four innings in game one and allowing two runs off four hits. Sophomore pitcher Katie Bracken had two strikeouts and a groundout in the closing inning. 

MSU and SMSU returned to action at 1:20 p.m. for the second game of their double-header. Senior infielder Torey Richards got the Mavericks on the board first in the second inning as she picked up the run while Behrends was caught stealing at second. 

Richards would add to the MSU lead in the fourth with an RBI single up the middle, giving them a 2-0 lead. Tatur would tie the game up 2-2 for the Mustangs in the fifth with a two-run RBI single to left field. 

In the bottom of the fifth, sophomore outfielder Kylie Sullivan would give the Mavs a 3-2 lead with an RBI double that brought sophomore Haley Forret across home plate. The Mavericks were able to add to their lead in the sixth as freshman infielder Marina Carter scored off a throwing error by the Mustangs. 

Both teams were kept off the scoresheet for the remainder of the game as the Mavericks would pick up the series sweep in a 4-2 final. Sophomore pitcher McKayla Armbruster picked up her first win of the season, allowing only two runs on seven hits.

Nielsen and Ward were recently named NSIC Player and Pitcher of the week for their performances against the Mustangs. Minnesota State will be back in action today as they take on Concordia-St. Paul in their first NSIC games of the season. 

CSP comes into the games today with a 17-2-1 overall record and haven’t played any conference games. The Mavericks own the all-time record against the Golden Bears at 56-20-2 including a 16-6-2 home record. 

Concordia’s hitting has proven to be a strong-point for them this season as they have three batters with batting averages over .400. Sophomore infielder and catcher Grace Beseman leads the team with .467 batting average and has tallied 19 runs and five homeruns on 28 hits this season.

Sophomore Bryanna Olson leads the pitching crew this season for the Golden Bears with an 11-1 overall record and 1.66 earned run average (ERA). Sophomore Kristi Pilz has also had a successful season so far for CSP with a 3-0 overall record and a 1.42 ERA. 

Senior catcher Amanda Parsons leads the Golden Bears’ gloves this season with 107 putouts and zero errors. Senior infielder Cam Veenbaas has also had a busy season with 29 putouts and zero errors.

The Mavericks will take on the Golden Bears in a pair of games today at the Maverick All-Sports Dome in Mankato. Start times for these games are 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Photo Header: Sophomore Sydney Nielsen has proved to be a solid batter this season, maintaining a .368 average at the plate. Nielsen has batted in 15 RBIs on 28 hits while also collecting four homeruns, which is second on the team only behind sophomore Madi Newman. (Maverick Athletics)

Write to Karson Buelow at karson.buelow@mnsu.edu.

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