In Game 2 against St. Cloud State in a home Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader, the Southwest Minnesota State softball team needed some offense in a big way after trailing 4-0 with two outs in the fifth inning.
The Mustangs' Krista Steen got the rally started as SMSU scored five fifth-inning runs in Game 2 for the 5-4 victory, sweeping the Huskies at Mustang Field on Wednesday.
SMSU (10-8 NSIC, 19-15 overall) won Game 1 by a score of 4-3.
Photo by Joe Brown
Southwest Minnesota State’s Rachel Hoeppner hurls a pitch to the plate during Game 2 of Wednesday’s NSIC doubleheader against St. Cloud State at Mustang Field.
In Game 2 with two outs in the fifth, the Mustangs started making their move. Christine Borowiak hit a single to left, then Kris Penick got on board with a single of her own. Chelsey Evans crossed home on a misplay in the outfield for SMSU's first run.
Following a passed ball and a walk to Ashley Gigax, Steen approached the plate and delivered a three-run double to right-center to tie the game at 4.
"That was a big hit. Talk about clutch,"?Mustangs head coach Missy Bruggeman said of Steen's double. "You need that kid up for at-bats like that and she loves being in those situations. Everyone was pretty pumped after that."
Following Steen's big hit, Kaley Scearcy drilled a single, and Amy Dreessen brought home the game-winning run on a single to left field.
Relieving starter Rachel Hoeppner in the fifth inning, Chelsey Evans sat St. Cloud State down in order in the sixth and seventh innings to complete the comeback victory.
"It was a fun atmosphere," Bruggeman said of the comeback. "Anytime you come back like that, it definitely changes the mood. Just having that never-say-die attitude came up in a big way for us."
In Game 1, SMSU jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning on an RBI single by Penick. In the second, the Mustangs tacked on two more runs on an RBI single by Evans and a sacrifice fly by Borowiak.
St. Cloud State (4-12, 18-24) cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fourth inning when Megan Lehnen belted an RBI single, bringing home Jordan Grell.
In the bottom of the fourth, SMSU scored an insurance run on a fielding error.
Holding onto the one-run lead in the top of the seventh, Rachel Groff struck out two and forced a fly out for her second save of the season.
SMSU plays its final road series of the season on Saturday, traveling to Minnesota State-Mankato for a doubleheader.
"We've had a lot of road games this year, and I think that's a good thing for your team because it builds some toughness,"?Bruggeman said. "To be able to bring it back home for the final stretch and have games there in front of your fans, it should be fun."
SCS001 101 0-3 9 3
SMSU120 100 X-4 8 1
SCS-Kendra Merritt, Chris Saiz (3); SMSU-Chelsey Evans, Rachel Groff (7). WP-Evans. LP-Merritt. S-Groff. 3B: SMSU-Christine Borowiak. 2B: SCS-Jordan Grell, Saiz, Megan Lehnen. LOB: SCS-7; SMSU-4.
SCS020 110 0-4 8 1
SMSU000 050 X-5 8 2
SCS-Chris Saiz, Kendra Merritt (2), Jackie Manrique (5); SMSU-Rachel Hoeppner, Chelsey Evans (5). WP-Evans. LP-Merritt. 2B: SCS-Saiz; SMSU-Krista Steen, Evans. LOB: SCS-6; SMSU-7.