Morningside’s nationally ranked softball team came off a 13-day layoff when its swept Dakota Wesleyan 9-5 and 8-6 in nine innings in Thursday’s GPAC doubleheader at the Riverside SYA Complex.
The 25th-ranked Mustangs, who had been idle since they opened the GPAC campaign with a split at Northwestern on March 22, overcame a three-run deficit in the seventh inning of the nightcap when Jayci Hinker blasted a game-tying three-run home run.
Hallie Misiaszek, who began her collegiate career at Dakota Wesleyan, was the winning pitcher in both games with a complete game effort in the opener and a five-inning relief stint in the nightcap.
The two-time reigning GPAC champion Mustangs improved their record to 15-8 overall and 3-1 in the GPAC.
The Mustangs had nine-hits in the opener, including three-hit performances from Abby Conner and Mackenzie Lose. Conner went three-for-four with a home run, double and three RBIs, while Lose collected three hits in four at-bats and drove in two runs. Lexie Stolen added a double, while Carson Cameron and Rachel Macias both singled.
Misiaszek scattered nine hits in a complete game performance to improve her record to 9-3. Misiaszek, who allowed only two earned runs, walked two and struck out eight.
The Mustangs led wire-to-wire in the opener after they scored four runs off Tiger starting pitcher Andrea Konz in the top of the first inning. Morningside did all of its scoring with two outs. Conner drove in the first run when she singled to center field to bring home Mara Amsberry, who had worked Konz for a one-out walk. Conner advanced to second on a single by Lose and scored on a double by Stolen. Lose eventually scored on a wild pitch and Stolen scored on an errant pickoff throw by the catcher.
After Dakota Wesleyan closed within 4-3 with a three-run second inning, Conner extended the Mustangs lead to 5-3 when she blasted a solo home run to straight away center field with one out in the top of the third.
The Mustangs staged another four-run inning in the top of the fourth to increase their lead to 9-3. Lose provided the big hit with a two-run single. Cameron had a RBI single and Conner doubled home a run earlier in the inning.
Morningside took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the nightcap when Amsberry walked and scored on a RBI single by Conner.
The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the first after a leadoff triple by Andriana Sprakel before Mustang starting pitcher Paige Lansink pitched out of the jam to leave Sprakel stranded.
The Mustangs made it 2-0 in the top of the second when Ashton Whited singled and came home on a two-out double by Amsberry.
Morningside scored another two-out run in the top of the third to go up 3-0 when Stolen was hit by a pitch and circled the bases on a triple by Hinker.
Dakota Wesleyan closed within 3-2 on RBI singles by Melysia Ortega and Karly Severance in the third inning and then tied the score in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Sprakel.
The Tigers took a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Amber Budmark and Sierra Haage cranked solo home runs and they added an insurance run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Sprakel.
Hinker launched the first home run of her collegiate career with a three-run blast over the center field fence in the top of the seventh to tie the score at 6-6. Hinker’s blast came after Conner and Stolen had singled earlier in the inning.
The Mustangs won the game with two runs in the top of the ninth. They scored the eventual game winner when Lose led off the inning with a triple down the left field line and came home when Stolen singled to right field. Stolen advanced to third base after walks to Hinker and Whited loaded the bases and scored the second run of the inning on a RBI groundout by Tracey Edwards.
Conner paced a 12-hit Mustang offensive attack with a double and two singles. Hinker had a home run, double and four RBIs, while Stolen and Whited each had a pair of singles. The Mustangs also had extra base hits from Lose with a triple and Amsberry with a double.
Misiaszek allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits in her five innings of relief to improve her record to 10-3. She struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
Morningside will host Concordia in a 1 p.m. Saturday GPAC doubleheader.