NCAA SOFTBALL: Sioux Falls sweeps SMSU in league DH

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The University of Sioux Falls defeated Southwest Minnesota State 6-1 and 4-1 in the Mustangs’ Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference opening doubleheader on Wednesday.

The doubleheader was played at Bowden Field on the campus of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, due to poor field conditions at Sherman Park in Sioux Falls.

SMSU combined to commit four errors in the two games with USF converting them into four runs.

In Game 1, starting pitcher Rachel Hoeppner sailed through the first three frames without allowing a hit, but was thumped for five runs on six hits and two errors in the next two. Hoeppner exited in the fifth with the Mustangs trailing 5-1.

SMSU scored its lone run of the game in the fifth on a RBI triple from Jazmyne Neely that scored Kaley Scearcy. Both hits came with two outs in the inning.

Hoeppner suffered her seventh loss of the season as she allowed three earned runs on just six hits through 4 1/3 innings pitched. Alex O’Connor tossed 1 2/3 innings of relief.

O’Connor got the nod in Game 2 and was tagged for three runs in the third after SMSU took a 1-0 lead in the top half of the inning on Chelsey Rodenkirch’s solo home run. The round-tripper was Rodenkirch’s first of the season.

O’Connor gave way to Hoeppner in the fourth and Hoeppner pitched well in relief allowing one run and two hits in 2 2/3 innings of work.

The offense couldn’t overcome the unearned runs as the Mustangs’ bats went quiet in the late innings. The SMSU offense managed just two hits in the final four frames.

O’Connor dropped to 2-8 on the season with the loss.

SMSU finished each game with one run on six hits and two errors.

Scearcy finished the doubleheader 3-for-7 with one run and three singles. Rodenkirch also picked up three hits on the day and finished 3-for-8 with a home run, a run and a RBI. Kailey Hanson went 1-for-3 with three walks.

The Mustangs (3-15, 0-2 NSIC) will open up the 2014 home schedule this Saturday and Sunday with NSIC doubleheaders versus Minot State and U-Mary.