MSU softball breaks in bubble with weekend sweep

Sean Arbaut/Minot State athletics Minot State's Skyla Neubauer (4) connects with a pitch during a women's college softball game Sunday in Minot.

It might have been a home tournament for Minot State softball, but there was a lot of environmental aspects the Beavers weren’t yet used to.

Saturday and Sunday marked the first contests the Beavers have played in their newly constructed air-supported bubble at Herb Parker Stadium, forcing players to make adjustments of catching fly balls that bounced off the Dome’s ceiling or lights.

“The interesting thing is that’s all new to us,” MSU coach Dave Kivett said. “We’re trying to come up with the perfect and correct scenario with the rules and stuff like that, but it is a challenge. But both teams had to play with it. We’re going to make sure we come up with some suggestions that will make it a little more fair to both teams in regards to the bubble rules for future tournaments.”

The good news was the new challenges mattered little to the Beavers, who extended their winning streak to six games after victories against Dickinson State and Mayville State Sunday. MSU (7-2) beat DSU 7-2 and Mayville State 12-5 to wrap up a 4-0 weekend.

“We’re very happy with how the girls played,” Kivett said. “This time of year is about getting games in and seeing how we compete. We’re getting better every game and you can see the progress we’re making. This is just going to get us ready for conference.”

Sean Arbaut/Minot State athletics Minot State's Lauren Cowden (14) catches a fly ball in the outfield Sunday

The offensive MVP Sunday was senior catcher Tori Zimmerman, who went a combined 5-for-7 in two games with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored.

“She’s truly a leader,” Kivett said. “Not only behind the plate but at the plate. She’s very scary there and teams are going to find out what she’s capable of.”

MSU had a combined 19 runs scored on 27 hits and have scored at least seven runs in eight out of its nine games. Other players that had five hits in two games were Isis Cabral and Julia Suchan.

“We’ve worked hard all fall and all spring on offense,” Kivett said. “The kids love to swing the bat and it’s pretty fun to watch. We’ve made a lot of progress of understanding good hitting situations.”

Kylie Patrick picked up the win in Game 1 against DSU, pitching four innings and allowing two runs while striking out one batter. Laura Mendez pitched all seven innings in Game 2, allowing two earned runs with one strikeout.

MSU is back in action at 8 a.m. Saturday against MSU Moorhead at the bubble in Minot.

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge