NCAA SOFTBALL: Mustangs take NSIC twin-bill from Beavers

MARSHALL – A pair of pitching gems by Rachel Hoeppner and Alex O’Connor led Southwest Minnesota State to a sweep of Bemidji State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference softball action on Friday.

Hoeppner hurled a one-hit shutout in Game 1 of the twin-bill to lead the Mustangs to a 3-0 win and O’Connor tossed a career-high 12 strikeouts in SMSU’s 2-1 win in Game 2.

SMSU 3,

Bemidji State 0

The Mustangs put runners in scoring position in every inning but the sixth and ended the game with nine hits but left 13 runners on base.

SMSU scored twice in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead with Shelbie Stoll and Elissa Reinsma scoring runs. Stoll and Reinsma scored on the same play as both runners successfully completed a double steal and Courtney O’Connor’s attempt to throw Stoll out at third sailed into the outfield and both runners scampered home.

The Mustangs loaded the bases in the fifth and Reinsma hit a sacrifice fly to right for her fourth RBI of the year to put SMSU up 3-0.

The Mustangs went down quickly and quietly on just six pitches in the sixth inning, marking the first inning in the game when SMSU didn’t move a runner or a runner to third.

The Mustangs loaded the bases in the seventh, but couldn’t bring around an insurance run, but Hoeppner didn’t need it as she set down the Beavers in order in the seventh.

Hoeppner faced the minimum 21 batters as her defense rolled a 6-4-3 double play following the Beavers’ lone single in the fifth. Hoeppner (5-10) struck out eight, issued no walks and gave up an infield single to Megan Bergeson en route to her first complete-game shutout of the season.

SMSU 2,

Bemidji State 1

The Beavers struck first with a run in the first on a RBI single by Lyndsey Peterson.

Emily Olson tied the score in the third with a two-out RBI single to center field that scored Kaley Scearcy from second. The RBI single was Olson’s second RBI this season.

SMSU took the lead in the sixth, when Kasey Eichten and Luttmann hit back-to-back doubles.

The 2-1 edge stoop up as O’Connor retired the Beavers in the seventh to secure her fourth win of the season.

O’Connor’s 12 strikeouts are the most by a Mustang pitcher in a game this season.

The Mustangs host Minnesota-Crookston at 12 and 2 p.m. at Mustang Field.