Rochester, MN (USF) – The University of Sioux Falls softball team fell to SMSU by a score of 3-2 in the opening round of the NSIC tournament. In Game 2, the Cougars faced Concordia St. Paul and came away with a 9-6 come from behind victory to advance to day two of the NSIC Tournament.
Shannon Pivovar, who is in her 4th season as the USF head softball coach, picked up her 4th NSIC Tournament victory.
Game 1: USF 2, SMSU 3
The Cougars fell short by a score of 3-2 against SMSU in the opening game of the NSIC tournament.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the 3rd inning when SMSU struck first with a single to right field to make it a 1-0 ball game for the Mustangs. The Cougars quickly answered back in the top of the 4th inning with back to back doubles by Reese Holzhueter and an RBI double by Kennedy Thomas to tie the game at 1-1.
SMSU was able to manufacture two runs in the bottom of the 5th inning to take a 3-1 lead. The Mustangs drew a walk, followed by a single, runners advanced on a passed ball, and USF’s Kait Van Der Zwaag limited the pressure put on by SMSU with a ground out and sacrifice fly but two runs had crossed to break the tie.
In the top of the 7th inning, the Cougars didn’t go down without a fight with a base knock from Lexie Swift, followed by a Kylie Madrid fielder’s choice, and a Taryn Wagner double, scoring Swift to make it a 3-2 ball game. Damaris Cuevas came in to pinch hit and flew out to left field, ending the game with a 3-2 victory for SMSU in the opening game of the NSIC tournament.
The Cougars finished with six different hitters getting base knocks for the Cougars as Emma Barta, Reese Holzhueter, Kennedy Thomas, Rylie Jones, Lexie Swift, and Taryn Wagner each had a hit on the day.
From the circle, Hanna Cress took the loss as she pitched four innings, surrendering five hits, three earned runs, two walks, and striking out one Mustangs hitter. Kait Van Der Zwaag pitched the final two innings, surrendering zero hits, zero runs, and walking one.
Game 2: USF 9, CSP 6
USF picked up a big win in Game 2 on Thursday afternoon by a score of 9-6 against Concordia St. Paul.
The Cougars got on the board early as Kait Van Der Zwaag continued to swing the stick well as she hit a solo shot home run in the top of the 1st to score the first run of the game. The Golden Bears answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run home run and fielder’s choice to make it a 3-1 score for CSP. The Golden Bears tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning to make it a 5-1 ball game after two innings.
In the top of the 3rd inning, the Cougars started the inning with three straight singles to load the bases with no outs. Kennedy Thomas reached on an RBI fielder’s choice, followed by a Lexie Swift two-run single to make it a 4-5 ball game through three innings.
The Cougars continued to chip away as Kylan Straight reached after an Emma Barta walk to lead off the top of the 5th inning. Kylan Straight stole 2nd base and scored off a Kait Van Der Zwaag single to left field. Freshman Reese Holzhueter came to the plate and hit an RBI double, scoring Van Der Zwaag to take the lead, 6-5 after four innings of play.
USF was busy yet again in the 6th as they extended their lead, started by Emma Barta with a single to open the top of the 6th inning. Kylan Straight continues to utilize her speed as she reached with a bunt single, followed by a Kait Van Der Zwaag walk to load the bases. Reese Holzhueter comes up in a big spot again as she singled to right field for an RBI single, scoring Klenke who pinch ran for Van Der Zwaag. Freshman Rylie Jones and junior Lexie Swift both contribute with RBI singles of their own to make it a 9-5 ball game for USF. The Golden Bears answered back in the bottom of the 6th with a run of their own to make it a 9-6 ball game heading to the final inning.
The Cougars ended the day with 15 hits on the day, led by Rylie Jones and Kait Van Der Zwaag with three hits each, followed by Emma Barta, Kylan Straight, Reese Holzhueter, and Lexie Swift with two hits apiece, and Taryn Wagner added one base knock on the day.
From the circle, Kait Van Der Zwaag pitched 1 1/3 inning, surrendering five hits, five earned run, two strikeouts, and two walks. Hanna Cress finished the game and picked up the victory, pitching 5 2/3 innings, surrendering six hits, 1 unearned run, two strikeouts, and walking one Golden Bears hitter on the day.
USF Softball will return to action on Friday at 10 a.m. where they’ll face off against Upper Iowa on Field B at the RYSFA Complex in Rochester, MN. Following a USF victory in the morning game, the following game will be played on Field A at 2 p.m.