Vikings score early, often, defeat Beavers

Minot State softball coach Bill Triplett wanted to jump on Augustana early and build from there in the Beavers home – and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference – opener on Thursday at Herb Parker Stadium.

That didn’t happen.

In fact, quite the opposite occurred.

The Vikings scored early and often and took both games of a doubleheader by scores of 8-0 and 10-6, respectively.

“We didn’t follow up with their hitting,” junior second baseman Rachel Burdette said. “They hit the ball really hard and we weren’t coming back with the same hits.”

Minot State faced a four-run first-inning deficit in Game 1 and a 3-0 first-inning deficit in Game 2.

“It is a little deflating,” Triplett said. “Being down 4-0 in the first inning and 3-0 in the first inning makes it an uphill battle right away and we aren’t a team geared to score eight to ten runs, so we need to get through that first inning without giving up any runs.”

The Beavers dug themselves a hole in the first game and never recovered, however, they did rally in Game 2 and made things interesting late.

“I thought we played really well for one game and four innings,” Augustana coach Gretta Melsted said. “Once the fifth inning came about and they got some people on base we didn’t play with the confidence we should.”

Threatening to get run-ruled for the second consecutive game, MSU got a fifth-inning three-run homer from Burdette – her second of the season – that kept the Beavers alive.

“We needed a little spark and my hit kept us in the game and that gave us a little hope,” Burdette said.

Junior third baseman Alyssa Cornejo added a solo shot – her third of the season – in the sixth inning and the Beavers added another run in the sixth. MSU got the tying run to the plate – by way of loading the bases – before eventually falling to 0-2 in conference play.

“Sometimes you have to give the other team some credit for being really good,” Triplett said. “They have some good seniors and good sticks and they took it to us today.”

The Vikings tagged MSU for 11 hits in Game 2 and eight hits in Game 1, which included six earned runs in two innings on Cornejo, who had been solid for the Beavers in recent games.

“It wasn’t Cornejo,” Triplett said. “It was on Augustana. (Cornejo) throws hard, but with her arm the way it is right now there are few pitches (off-speed pitches) she wants to stay away from and they hit her around today.”

Freshman third baseman Shannon Peterson logged a three-run homer in the first game for Augustana while junior shortstop Sarah Kennedy hit a grand slam in Game 2.

Minot State was originally scheduled to host Wayne State today, but because of inclement weather the games got pushed back to Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. at The Herb.

“We just need to get the bats going,” Burdette said. “When we hit we are good and when we hit we win wins games, so that’s what we need to do.”

John Denega covers Minot High athletics, Minot State softball and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @JohnDenega_MDN.