Mustang softball team sluggish to start season

The Southwest Minnesota State softball team was playing its first two games of the year and the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs were playing their 13th and 14th in a doubleheader between the two squads Wednesday in St. Paul. The results by the end of the day reflected what would be expected between a team in the swing of things and another knocking the rust off.

The Bulldogs swept the doubleheader with ease, taking Game 1 10-2 in five innings and earning an 8-0 shutout in the second game to extend their winning streak to nine games.

The Mustangs (0-2 overall) were held to five hits in Game 1 by UMD’s Julia Nealer, who had seven strikeouts in the game. Rachel Hoeppner went the distance for SMSU and gave up 10 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits and seven walks with two strikeouts.

Chelsey Rodenkirch and Kailey Hanson each had a double for the Mustangs in the loss.

Caylie Sadler tossed a complete-game shutout for UMD (10-4) in Game 2, strikeout out nine batters while allowing just two hits and one walk. Hoeppner threw three innings in the game, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk. Katie Herron came on in relief, giving up 11 hits and six earned runs in the final four innings.

Kierra Jeffers had four hits and four RBIs for the Bulldogs. SMSU’s two hits came from Amy Dreessen (a double) and Rodenkirch.

SMSU will be back on the field March 9-15 when the Mustangs head to Kissimmee, Fla., for the Rebel Spring Games.