Herron tosses shutout, helps SMSU softball sweep UMC

In her first career start, Southwest Minnesota State freshman Katie Herron tossed a shutout for the Mustangs in a 10-0 five-inning win over Minnesota-Crookston to complete a sweep of the Golden Eagles Sunday in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference softball doubleheader played in in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Mustangs won the first game 5-4, with Rachel Groff getting out of a bases-loaded jam by inducing a pop fly for the final out in the seventh inning.

The pair of wins moves SMSU to 13-13 overall and 6-8 in NSIC action. Minnesota-Crookston drops to 2-25 overall and 1-15 in conference play.

Up 3-2 in Game 1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, SMSU extended its lead to three runs when shortstop Chelsey Rodenkirch knocked in Katelyn Kalkman and Shelbie Stoll with a single to left field. The pair of runs proved important, as the Golden Eagles used a seventh-inning rally to tighten the game.

Groff, who came on for starter Rachel Hoeppner in the third inning, gave up a pair of runs in the top of the seventh and the Golden Eagles threatened to tie or take the lead with the bases loaded and two outs. But Groff got UMC’s Jessica Ramos to fly out to second base to end the game.

Groff gave up four runs (two earned) in five innings of work and earned the win. She allowed nine hits and one walk and struck out two batters.

Stoll had two hits and two runs scored for the Mustangs, and Jennifer Johnson had three hits. Rodenkirch finished with two hits, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Herron tossed the second game for SMSU and pitched a gem. She held the Golden Eagles to just three hits in the five-inning game, walking one batter and striking out four.

The SMSU offense needed just four hits to score 10 runs. The Mustangs also drew 10 walks, with Kalkman earning three free passes. Senior Amy Dreessen had a bases-clearing double for the Mustangs in the second inning and Johnson blasted a grand slam in SMSU’s seven-run fourth inning. Johnson also walked twice in the game.

SMSU is back on the field today with an NSIC doubleheader against Bemidji State. The games will again be in Sioux City due to unplayable field conditions in Marshall.