A big day at the plate.

This week the University of Minnesota Duluth Women’s Softball team took on the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs in a two-game series Wednesday afternoon. After starting the season with a 6-3 record, the Bulldogs looked to continue their winning ways, and win they did. In the first game, the Bulldogs collected 10 hits and three homeruns, which came off the bats of freshman outfielder Hannah Schmoll, senior infielder Jordan Rice and freshman infielder Becky Smith. Smith also had a double and two RBI’s in the game.

Sophomore pitcher Sam Hartmann made it look easy on the mound on Wednesday. Hartmann pitched a near perfect game, pitching a complete seven innings, giving up just one hit, no walks and striking out 10 Mustang batters. She improved to 5-0 on the season.

The Bulldogs earned their seventh win of the year with a 5-0 victory over the Mustangs — their third shutout of the season.

In the second game, the Mustangs looked to bounce back from their game-one loss by getting on the board first in the first inning.

The Mustangs’ lead didn’t last long, however, as the Bulldogs showed their power at the plate once again. The team had a collective five home runs, 13 hits and 11 runs.

Rice went 3-4 in the game, including hitting one of the Bulldogs five home runs. Rice also had two runs and an RBI that contributed to the Bulldogs’ scoring frenzy.

“I felt in game two we played as a team offensively, feeding off others and posing as a serious offensive threat from spots 1-9 in our line up.” Rice said. “You also have to hand it to the Bulldogs who hit their first collegiate home runs — Abbey Nelson, Hannah Schmoll and Natalie Wright.”

The Bulldogs’ pitching shut down the Mustangs after the first inning. Junior pitcher Cayli Sadler threw a complete game, letting up six hits, one walk and striking out four players. Sadler improved to 3-3 on the season with the win.

“We really must give a lot of credit to our pitchers,” Rice said. “Sam and Cayli both found a rhythm and really shut down a team who came out swinging in both games.”

Coach Jen Banford was quite happy with the way her team played against the Mustangs.

“I was very impressed with our team’s performance last week versus Southwest,” Banford said. “We got into a good rhythm at the plate and dominated offensively with eight homeruns in two games.”

The Bulldogs improved to 8-3 overall on the season after a pair of non-conference wins. They take on the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears as their next opponents in a pair of games Wednesday, March 4.

“Our pitchers did a great job working ahead of the count and putting us in a good position to win both games (this week),” Banford said. “We need to tighten up defensively and continue to be consistent at the plate."


Statesman Correspondent

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