Cougars start conference schedule 4-1 in softball
The University of Minnesota, Morris softball team is tied for second in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference standings at 4-1. The Cougars started the conference schedule by winning a game at Presentation College in Aberdeen on April 6, splitting on the road at Bethany on April 10, and winning both in a home double header versus Martin Luther on April 14.
The sweep of Martin Luther improves the Cougars' overall record to 7-15 on the season. They play four games at home this weekend - two against Crown on Friday and two with Northwestern on Saturday.
The Cougars exploded for six runs in the top of the first inning, taking advantage of four walks by Presentation. By the end of the third, they led 12-0.
The power and production came from the sixth and seventh spots where Second baseman Heidi Miller and catcher Julie Rohling each had three RBIs apiece. Heather Briese and Kali Cordes each had two RBIs.
Every Cougar batter in the game reached base at least once.
Emily Mehr made her season debut, pitching one inning of relief for the winning pitcher, Tasha Johnson, who gave up just two runs on three hits.
The Cougars and Saints played a second, non-conference game. Behind a first-inning grand slam by junior shortstop Britney Glisczinski, the Cougars once again used an early burst of runs to put the Saints in a deep hole. Glisczinski's round tripper ignited a 10-run first inning.
Then in the third inning, the Cougars put eight more on the board, taking advantage of two Presentation errors.
Cordes pitched four innings of one-hit ball for the win.
Glisczinski finished the game with six RBIs. Seven Cougars batted in runs in the game.
The early session was a defensive battle in which the Cougars prevailed 4-2. Pitchers Tasha Johnson and Mehr combined on a five-hitter. Johnson went four innings, giving up two runs. Mehr earned the win with two innings of shutout ball.
The Vikings got on the board in the first inning, manufacturing a single run off a single, a stolen base, and a sacrifice bunt.
The 1-0 lead held until the top of the fifth when the Cougars strung together some hits, putting a runner in scoring position. Third baseman Diane Blommel bunt singled to move Cordes across the plate. After advancing on a wild pitch, Blommel scored on a centerfield double from junior Heather Briese.
The Vikings would even the score in the bottom half of the fifth.
Then, in the top of the seventh, Blommel doubled with one out. One batter later, Glisczinski doubled home Blommel. Mehr reached on a error by Bethany's third baseman and Glisczinski scored on the throwing error.
Mehr set down three outs in four batters to preserve the win in the bottom of the seventh.
Mehr started game two and gave up three runs in three innings. That would be all Bethany needed as they cruised to a 7-2 victory on a four-hitter pitched by Abigail Popp.
Martin Luther 3
In game one, UMM went in front with a three-run first inning and cruised to a 9-3 win. Cordes went the distance giving up just three runs over seven innings. She walked only two batters.
Miller and Rohling provided scoring punch in the middle of the order, combining for five RBIs. The Cougars took advantage of six Martin Luther errors to manufacture runs.
In the first inning, center fielder Liz Leuty tripled down the left field line and scored on a passed ball. Glisczinski and Miller had base hits and came home on a Rohling single.
The Knights took back two runs in the third, but from there Cordes buckled down and made just one mistake, a sixth-inning home run to MLC's Brittany Jensen.
UMM put the game out of reach in the fourth inning. Miller doubled with the bases loaded, scoring Leuty and Blommel. Rohling then sacrificed, bringing Glisczinski across the plate. Johnson, playing first base, singled Miller home to give the Cougars an 8-2 advantage.
Cordes improved her record to 3-5 on the season.
Martin Luther 3
In game 2, the Cougars stopped a late rally from Martin Luther to preserve a 6-4 win. Johnson pitched a complete game for the win.
Blommel, Leuty, and Miller at the top of the order provided early runs, boosting UMM to a 5-1 lead after four innings.
But in the top of the fifth, the Knights scored three times. With bases loaded and two outs, Johnson got Heather Korb to hit a dribbler to Blommel who threw home for the force out.
The Cougars added another run when Briese scored on Ashley Splonskowski's ground out.