Softball collects weekend sweeps over Crookston, Bemidji

The Minnesota State University, Mankato softball team was back in action this past weekend taking on Minnesota Crookston and Bemidji State in two separate double headers. 

The Mavericks returned home in great fashion, sweeping both double headers to improve to 32-10 and extending their win streak to six. 

MSU started off their weekend with Minnesota Crookston this past Friday, with a 7-0 win and 6-1 win at the Maverick All-Sports Dome in Mankato. Standout senior pitcher Mackenzie Ward got the start on the mound for the Mavs, pitching all seven innings while only allowing two hits. 

Ward shut out the Golden Eagles, collecting 10 strikeouts in 23 at bats. Redshirt freshman Brianne Stone helped the Mavericks gain the first lead of the contest when coming in as a designated hitter in the second inning.

Stone sent a single to right field which scored senior shortstop Torey Richards. A sacrifice fly would send home another runner to round out the second to give the Mavs a 2-0 lead. A steady inning by inning scoring approach helped drive home Minnesota State to a 7-0 win. 

Game two of the double header started off with the Mavericks finding scoring first once again, with freshman third baseman Cheyenne Behrends and sophomore outfielder Madi Newman both stealing bases. Newman stole home on the play to give MSU the first lead of the contest.

Later, sophomore Kylie Sullivan would single up the middle to send home Behrends to round out the first inning of scoring. 

The Mavericks would gain another in the second on a sacrifice fly but Crookston would get their first run of the contest in the top of the third. The Golden Eagles doubled to right center field which proceeded to score junior Alyssa Stillman to cut the Mavericks’ lead to two. 

MSU would wait to respond in the fourth inning, where they tallied three runs to wrap up the scoring in the contest. Sophomore McKayla Armbruster collected the win, improving her season record to 3-5 and the Minnesota State record to 30-10.

The Mavericks then awaited their games against Bemidji State on Saturday which kicked off at 11 a.m. Behrends got the scoring rolling for the Mavs in the first inning, singling to left field to score sophomore Ellie Tallman. 

Behrends’ RBI would stand as the only score of the contest, but a double in the top of the seventh by the Beavers would entail and switch in pitching for MSU. Sophomore Katie Bracken came in as relief for Armbruster, grounding out the last batter to earn her third save of the season. 

The second game of the double header did not see any scoring until the sixth inning, where Richards would reach second on a bunt while sending home Behrends to give MSU the only lead of the contest. Sophomore Courtney Baxter would pinch hit to send home Richards on a single to center field, giving Minnesota State a 2-0 lead. 

Ward would close out the seventh inning despite letting up a double on the first batter, improving her season record to 21-3. 

The Mavericks have a quick turnaround to Sioux Falls, S.D. to another Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference double header against the Sioux Falls Cougars. History has been kind to the Mavs as they have won 14 of 15 contests against the Cougars all-time. 

Sioux Falls comes into the contest 17-17 overall and 5-8 in NSIC play which finds them in the bottom half of the NSIC standings.

MSU is third in the NSIC currently, with a 14-4 conference record. The Mavs have the second-best overall record in the NSIC, only behind Augustana who supports a 32-7 record and 13-game win streak.

Header Photo: Sophomore Kylie Sullivan has been great at the plate for the Mavericks this season, batting a .328 average while collecting 40 hits and 20 RBIs in 122 at bats. (Emily Lansman/The Reporter)

Write to Kole Buelow at kole.buelow@mnsu.edu.

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