SMSU softball team gets first win of season

Southwest Minnesota State softball went 1-3 at the 2013 Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla., over the weekend. The Mustangs split a pair of games on Sunday with a 6-5 win over Ashland (Ohio) and a 4-3 loss to Long Island University-Post (N.Y.) after going 0-2 on Saturday when SMSU was routed by Adelphi (N.Y.), 12-6, and Northwood (Mich.), 15-0.

The Mustangs (1-5 overall) committed six errors in their two games on Saturday, as pitcher Rachel Hoeppner was stung for 17 runs in two starts, although just eight were earned. Adelphi jumped out early on SMSU behind a five-run first inning and never looked back.

“Most of it comes with lack of experience, not coming out and playing like we wanted to, playing a little bit timid,” SMSU head coach Missy Bruggeman said of her team’s defensive lapses on Saturday.

In its night cap, SMSU mustered just two hits off Northwood pitcher Maddison Sebald. Northwood’s batters had no such difficulties, however, as they racked up 16 hits in their five-inning 15-0 drubbing of SMSU.

According to Bruggeman, Sebald was most effective at getting the Mustangs to swing at bad pitches.

“She threw well on the mound, but we hit poorly,” she said. “We hit some cheap ground balls, some easy line drives. Our batters need to see their pitches better.”

Sunday started better for the Mustangs as they were able to pick up their first win of the season thanks to Amy Dreessen’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning.

“She had a solid game with a big game-winning RBI for us,” Bruggeman said of Dreessen. “It’s always nice to see a senior step up like that and be a competitor.”

Dreessen’s game-winning base knock gave SMSU a 6-5 edge over Ashland and gave Hoeppner, who entered in relief in the fifth inning, her first win on the year.

SMSU nearly made it 2-for-2 on Sunday. The Mustangs led LIU Post 3-1 after a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but a two-run bottom half sent the game to the seventh knotted at 3-3. SMSU was unable to add another run though, while LIU Post strung together three base hits in the bottom of the seventh to take the game 4-3.

Hoeppner went 1-3 over the weekend for SMSU and pitched all but five innings over the four games. Bruggeman was impressed with her sophomore’s performance over the weekend, considering the workload and the early stage of the season.

“Overall, I thought she threw well for us,” Bruggeman said. “She had command of her pitches and forced hitters to hit where we wanted them to. The part that hurt us was their situational hitting, or them hitting it where we weren’t.”

The Mustangs are back in action today with a rematch against LIU Post at 10 a.m before taking on Tiffin (Ohio) at 2 p.m.