Mustangs split with Beavers in NSIC softball doubleheader

Playing the second series in a three-day stretch of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheaders, the Southwest Minnesota State softball team split a pair of games with Bemidji State Monday in Sioux City, Iowa. The BSU Beavers took Game 1 5-4 before SMSU claimed an 8-6 victory in Game 2.

Coming off a sweep of Minnesota-Crookston Sunday, the Mustangs weren’t as sharp as head coach Missy Bruggeman would have liked to open Monday’s doubleheader against a struggling BSU team that is 8-27 overall and 2-16 in the NSIC after the split. Up 3-0 through four innings, SMSU (14-14 overall, 7-9 NSIC) had some fielding miscues down the stretch and gave up five runs over the final three innings in the loss.

Bruggeman said the stat sheet didn’t reflect her team’s poor play in the field.

“In the first game I’d say it was a game where we gave it to them,” Bruggeman said. “We kind of beat ourselves in that game. We had one error that showed up on the stats but mentally we made a lot more errors than what we’re used to seeing. It just wasn’t a real good showing on our end.”

SMSU’s Rachel Hoeppner got the start and tossed the frist 2 2/3 innings for SMSU without giving up a run. She was relieved by Rachel Groff in the third inning and Groff allowed to runs on four hits with two walks and a strikeouts. Freshman Katie Herron worked the final 1 1/3 innings for SMSU and gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits with a walk and two hit batters. Herron was a game removed from pitching a three-hit shutout against Minnesota-Crookston the previous day.

BSU freshman and Lakeview graduate Lyndsey Peterson, the 2012 Independent Player of the Year, had a solid game at the plate in helping the Beavers to the win. She went 2-for-4 with a a double and an RBI batting third in the order.

SMSU’s Jennifer Johnson had a pair of doubles and an RBI for the Mustangs in the game. Senior first baseman Amy Dreessen went 2-for-4 with a double.

Game 2 started with Bemidji State striking for a pair of runs in the first inning thanks to a two-run home run by Peterson, one of her two hits in the game. Hoeppner shut down the Beavers over the next two innings and SMSU took a 7-2 lead after scoring five runs in the bottom of the third.

Groff tossed the final four innings for SMSU and earned the victory. She gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits with four walks and one strikeout.

SMSU had two errors in the game and, though the Mustangs won, Bruggeman said there was definitely room for improvement.

“The second game we won 8-6 but we still struggled in terms of keeping base runners off and overall in making the adjustments we need to in terms of offense, defense and pitching, just getting all of them working together so we can become a more successful program,” Bruggeman said.

Johnson had two hits and three RBIs in the Game 2 win. Dreessen and center fielder Shelby Stoll each added two hits and two runs scored, while third baseman Morgan Peterson had two hits and drove in two runs, both on a double in the fifth inning.

The Mustangs will be back in action today at the Morningside Little League Complex in Sioux City for a doubleheader against Augustana. The games were originally scheduled to be played in Marshall but have been moved due to unplayable field conditions. Today’s doubleheader begins at noon.