SMSU SOFTBALL: SMSU splits two games to close Dragon-Beaver Battle
WEST. ST. PAUL – The Southwest Minnesota State softball team closed off a successful two-day trip to the West St. Paul Dome splitting a pair of games on Friday at the Dragon-Beaver Battle co-hosted by MSU Moorhead and Bemidji State.
SMSU lost its first game of the day on Friday to Concordia-St. Paul, 6-2, before holding on for 4-3 victory over Bemidji State. SMSU ended the two-day event with a 3-1 record and are now 3-3 overall.
In the loss to CSP, SMSU trailed 1-0 until the top of the fourth when the Mustangs rallied to take the lead. Kali Tomlinson and Bailey Johnson started the inning with singles and each moved up one base on a sac bunt by Kaylee Hentges. Mackenzie Clouse tied the score with a run-scoring single before Madison Krog hit a sac fly to push across another run and make the score 2-1.
CSP quickly answered and regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth by taking advantage of an SMSU error to score four runs on three hits. Three of the runs in the inning were unearned.
CSP finished the game collecting 11 hits, while SMSU was limited to four.
Megan Cull (0-1) suffered the loss in the circle for the Mustangs, tossing 3 1/3 innings giving up five hits, three runs (one earned) with one walk and one strikeout. Athena Golling pitched the final 2 2/3 innings allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
SMSU jumped on the board in the top of the first inning versus BSU as Emma Grote scored on a throwing error by the Beavers third baseman. SMSU added to the lead in the fourth inning as Abbie Decker brought home pinch runner Emma Lero with a sac fly to make the score 2-0.
The score moved to 3-0 in the fifth inning Hentges coaxed a two-out walk and later came around to score on a bases-loaded walk to Sara DeSmet.
The Mustangs picked up a critical insurance run in the seventh as Krog belted her first home run of the season to push the lead to 4-0.
The run proved to be huge as BSU rallied to push across three runs on two hits off of SMSU starter Shelby Crank and Cull, who entered the game in relief with two runners on base and no outs. Golling entered with two outs and runners on first and second and closed the game retiring the final batter on a line out to secure her first career save in 50 career apperances.
Crank (2-1) earned the victory for SMSU tossing six-plus innings, allowing two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
SMSU, which out-hit BSU 9-5, was led by Grote, Johnson, Clouse and Krog, who all finished with two hits apiece.
Southwest Minnesota State returns to the diamond on Sunday, March 4, with a doubleheader at Eckerd College (Fla.) in St. Petersburg, Florida. The twinbill will be the first two of nine games the Mustangs will play in Florida from March 4-8.
of SMSU Athletic