CROOKSTON - Southwest Minnesota State used a pair of strong pitching performances to sweep Minnesota-Crookston in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader on Saturday and complete a crucial four-game sweep.
SMSU won 3-0 in Game 1 and then cruised to a 10-2 victory in Game 2.
The four-game sweep keeps the Mustangs (21-20, 12-13 NSIC) in the race for qualifying for the eight-team NSIC tournament.
SMSU closes the regular season this week with six home games at Alumni Field.
Jimmy Callahan (6-1), who was coming off his shortest start of the season (three innings) on Tuesday, fired his second shutout of the season, allowing just three hits and two walks and tying a season-high with seven strikeouts.
The game was scoreless until the sixth, when the Mustangs broke through against Golden Eagles (1-41, 0-30 NSIC) starter Trevor Buttermore. SMSU left seven runners on base in the first four innings, including two each in the third and fourth innings. With one out in the sixth, Jason Minnet walked and scored on an RBI triple by Sam Haas. Tanner Neale then followed with a run-scoring single to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
SMSU added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single by Jon Ellis to score Patrick Rients.
The Mustangs finished Game 1 with seven hits.
In Game 2, SMSU jumped in front in the first as Jordon Kontz was hit by a pitch with one out and moved to second on a single by Rients. Austin Stubbs pushed across the Mustangs' first run with an RBI single, before Minnet hit a sac fly later to give SMSU a 2-0 advantage.
The lead expanded in the second due to the big bat of Rients. Neale started the rally with a leadoff walk, before Ben Korger reached on a one-out error to put runners on first and second. Following a fly out, Rients made the error prove costly, as he launched his team-leading 13th homer of the season to give the Mustangs a 5-0 lead.
SMSU put the game away in the fifth inning, pushing across four runs on five hits. Ellis started the frame with a double and scored on a double by Haas. Ryan Engels brought home Haas with an RBI single, before Korger drilled an RBI double and Kontz knocked home another run with an infield single to make the score 9-0.
The Mustangs scored an unearned run in the seventh to build a 10-0 lead and were one out away from winning via run-rule in the seventh, but UMC plated a run with a two-out single to extend the game.
Rients led SMSU's 11-hit attack in Game 2, going 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Kontz and Engels both added two hits apiece.
Steven Wehr (4-3) threw seven strong innings to earn the victory, scattering six hits and allowing one run with six strikeouts and one walk.
SMSU 5-1, Northern State 0-9
ABERDEEN, S.D. - Rachel Hoeppner led Southwest Minnesota State to a 5-0 victory over Northern State in NSIC action on Saturday as the junior starting pitcher tossed a six-hit complete-game shutout.
SMSU's four-game winning streak was snapped by Northern State's 9-1 (6) victory in game two.
Elissa Reinsma led the Mustangs, offensively, with three hits from the leadoff spot as she finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Reinsma now has nine hits in the last three games.
Jazmyne Neely and Katelyn Kalkman drove in runs in the game.
Hoeppner scattered six hits over seven innings while walking two and striking out two. The complete-game shutout was Hoeppner's second of the season. She finished the season with a record of 9-13 with an ERA of 3.41 over 174 2/3 innings of work.
The Mustangs fell 9-1 in six innings of Game 2 to end their season.
SMSU finished with five hits in the game - all from different hitters. Reinsma recorded the Mustangs' lone RBI.
Alex O'Connor was roughed up for 11 hits and eight runs but just three were earned. The freshman walked one and struck out two. She finished her first season 6-17 in her 27 appearances with an ERA of 4.22 in 136 innings. Hoeppner tossed an inning of relief and allowed four hits and one earned run.
SMSU finished 2014 with an overall record of 15-30-1 and 12-17-1 in the NSIC. The game was Kaley Scearcy's and Jennifer Johnson's final game in a Mustang uniform.
SMSU ends up sixth at NSIC tournament
MORTON - The Southwest Minnesota State University women's golf team concluded the 2013-14 season on Sunday with a sixth-place finish at the NSIC Championships at Dacotah Ridge Golf Club.
SMSU shot a final round score of 363 on Sunday to finish with a four-round total of 1,419 strokes, 267 shots over par.
The first two rounds of the championship were played in October 2013 at The Classic at Madden's in Brainerd, while third and final rounds were played at Dacotah Ridge on Saturday and Sunday.
Augustana College won the NSIC championship with a score of 1,304, earning a 33-stroke victory over Concordia-St. Paul (1,337). The Vikings' Maggie Leland won the league individual title with a 34-over 322.
Rachel Patnoe, playing her final collegiate round, led SMSU on Sunday with a 17-over 89 to finish tied for 16th overall with a 62-over 350. Becky Koepp shot a 19-over 91 on Sunday and recorded a 26th place finish at 73-over 361.
Dana Wagner finished 27th overall with a 75-over 363, following a round of 22-over 94 on Sunday. Abby Gruber shot a 20-over 92 on Sunday and finished 31st overall with an 80-over 368. Megan Will, who did not compete in the fall portion of the championship, shot rounds of 98 and 91.
Wagner led SMSU during the season with an 85.5 stroke average in 16 rounds, including a pair of top five finishes.
SMSU had three seniors on the 2013-14 roster, including Patnoe, Marissa Campeau and Trisha Kienitz. Campeau finished her career ranking sixth in school history with an 85.7 stroke average in 74 rounds.
TRACK AND FIELD
Three SMSU men earn top finishes
ST. PETER - The SMSU men's and women's track and field team teams competed on Saturday at the Drake Alternative meet hosted at Gustavus Adolphus College.
The men's team had three individuals earn first-place finishes.
Alejandro Sanchez captured first place in the 800-meter run in 1-minute, 55.27-seconds, while O.J. Ojullu also took home first place honors in the 1,500 run in 4:05.93.
Ben Tonsager was the third Mustang to record a top finish after he won the shot put with a throw of 50-feet, 7 1/2-feet.
Austin LaFollette earned a second-place finish in the 400 hurdles, crossing the line in 56.62 seconds, while T.J. Dean had a mark of 44-5 1/2 to finish second in the triple jump.
Dallin Finley finished fourth in the 100 dash with a time of 11.19 seconds.
On the women's side, Samantha McNeel had SMSU's best finish, recording a seventh-place mark in the long jump at 16-2 1/2, while Makayla Saathoff finished eighth in the 800 run in 2:24.