NCAA SOFTBALL: Mustangs split with Minot State in home opener

MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State took the first game of a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader against Minot State on Saturday, winning 6-1 in Game 1.

Mustangs pitcher Rachel Hoeppner threw a complete game, striking out eight, walking one and allowing one hit.

Right fielder Jazmyne Neely had a big day, driving in three RBI while scoring a run, herself. Neely finished the day 3-for-4 with two doubles and a single.

Catcher Kailey Hanson had two RBI to go with an RBI from third basemen Kaley Scearcy. Hanson and Scearcy both hit a single.

The Mustangs did their damage early, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after two innings before Hoeppner settled in to retired the last 11 batters she faced, including 14 of the final 15.

The Beavers lone run came in third when left fielder Jen Dixon homered to right field. Minot State also had hits from catcher Darlene Truong, third basemen Stacy Fournier and two hits from rightfielder Katie Backes.

In Game 2, SMSU jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the second. Scearcy led off the frame with a single and, following two wild pitches, scored on a fielder’s choice. Neely scored on an error to give the Mustangs a 2-0 advantage.

SMSU maintained the lead until the fourth, when Minot State used a two-out rally to take its first lead of the day. Trailing 2-1 with two outs and runners on second and third, the Beavers put together a pair of RBI singles, a walk and another single to score four more runs and build a 5-2 lead.

Minot State added a run in the sixth, before SMSU answered in the bottom half on a two-out RBI single by Carroll to cut the deficit to 6-3. But that’s as close as the Mustangs could rally against Dixon.

Dixon finished the game, tossing all seven innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

Alex O’Connor (2-9) suffered the loss for the Mustangs inside the pitcher’s circle. She pitched four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with six walks and two strikeouts.

EDITOR’S NOTE: SMSU Director of Athletic Communications Kellly Loft contributed to this story