UMD Looks To Carry Momentum From Spring Break Trip Into Conference Play
The University of Minnesota Duluth Softball team has made it a recurring theme of performing well in their annual Clermont, FL tournament over spring break. This year was no different. UMD went 8-2 while putting up a run differential of +20 over the five-day trip. This included victories over No. 13 Southern Indiana, No. 7 Grand Valley State, and No. 25 Southern New Hampshire.
UMD’s recent dominance didn’t stop there, as the team once again took to the road to St. Joseph, MO to participate in the Hyvee Classic. This tournament yielded similar results as the team went an impressive 5-1.
“I think we are a pretty confident, driven group,” head Coach Jen Walter said. “During both trips we won games in many different ways, coming from behind, holding a lead late in the game, and also dominating the entire game. Each part of our game from pitching to defense to hitting has come through for us as some point, but I would say our pitching and defense has been the most steady. I know they are all looking forward to the conference season.”
Speaking of the conference season, UMD opens up conference play today with a doubleheader against Saint Cloud State University at home at Malosky Stadium. SCSU also participated in the Hyvee Classic, but didn’t fare nearly as well as UMD, finishing 0-6 in the tournament. That doesn’t mean UMD will be taking them lightly however.
“Every conference game will be a challenge,” Walter said. “I think last year we may have surprised some teams, but because of our success that won't happen this year. SCSU has had a very good non-conference season. They have a good combination of speed and power hitting so we first will need to control their running game. Other than that, we just need to focus on playing clean softball.”
UMD will play its next six games at home, something they haven’t been able to do all season.
“We are fortunate to be able to travel to places like Arkansas, Florida and Missouri to get our non conference schedule in,” Walter said. “We also have been fortunate to play in really nice weather every where we have been. But there's nothing better than playing at home. We love playing in front of our own fans and on our home field. Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate with us.”
Photo courtesy of Dave Harwig