Morningside’s nationally ranked softball team bounced back from its first shutout loss of the season with a 10-6 triumph against the University of Saint Mary on Sunday in Leavenworth, Kan.
The Mustangs, ranked ninth in the NAIA Softball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, opened the day with a 4-0 loss against the University of Jamestown before their offense came to life against Saint Mary.
Hanna Dunnigan twirled a three-hit shutout in the loss against Jamestown. Dunnigan struck out four and didn’t walk a batter while facing only two batters over the minimum.
Dunnigan retired the Mustangs’ first six batters of the game before McKenzie Anderson led off the third inning with an infield single. Abby Conner had the Mustangs’ other two hits with a single to right field in the fourth and an infield single in the seventh.
Jamestown took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Mikayla Frost led off with a bunt single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Kaitlyn Combo.
The Jimmies stretched their lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Frost led off with a single and came home when Marissa Duchl walked with the bases loaded.
Frost contributed a RBI single when the Jimmies scored a pair of unearned runs in the fifth to break the game open.
Frost went four-for-four to account for half of the Jimmies’ eight hits.
The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Saint Mary when Tracey Edwards led off the game with a single, advanced to second base on an error and scored on a RBI single by Emilee Dorpinghaus.
The Mustangs’ lead was short lived when the Spires answered with two runs in the bottom of the first inning to go up 2-1. The big hit was a RBI double by Samantha Torres.
Morningside capitalized on a pair of Saint Mary errors to tie the score at 2-2 in the top of the second. The Mustangs scored two runs in the top of the third to take a 4-2 lead and had a chance to do even more damage, but failed to add on after they had the bases loaded with no outs. Morningside had three straight hits to start the inning when Koch doubled, followed by a RBI single by Dorpinghaus and a RBI double by Conner.
The Mustangs scored again in the fourth inning to go up 5-2 when Elin Landgren was hit by a pitch, was sacrificed to second by Koch and scored on a two-out double by Conner.
The Spires staged a three-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score at 5-5. The hosts closed within 5-4 on a two-run triple by Tycee Coplan and tied the score on a RBI single by Kaila Trowbridge.
The Mustangs regained the lead in the top of the fifth when Koch delivered a two-out double with the bases loaded that drove in Courtney Joiner and Mara Amsberry to put the guests in front 7-5. Joiner was a pinch-runner for Allie Martinez, who singled to start the inning, while Amsberry was on base after a two-out walk.
Rachel Henks pitched the Mustangs out of a jam in the bottom of the fifth when the Spires loaded the bases with no outs. Henks retired Maddison Carr on an infield popup, enticed Nicole Desimone to bounce into a fielder’s choice with the out at the plate and struck out Kirsten Steinbeck to escape unscathed.
The Mustangs broke the game open when they scored three more runs in the sixth to take a 10-5 lead. Morningside had four hits in the inning, including a two-run double by Amsberry and a RBI double by Edwards, both with two outs.
Koch went three-for-four with a pair of doubles to lead a 13-hit Mustang offensive attack. The Mustangs also had multiple hit performances from Conner with a pair of doubles, Edwards with a double and single, and Dorpinghaus and Martinez, each with a pair of singles.
Henks allowed five runs on nine hits over the first five innings to get the win. She walked two and struck out four.
Andrea Medinger struck out three of the eight batters she faced over the last two innings. She allowed one run on one hit.
The reigning GPAC champion Mustangs are scheduled to open defense of their title with a 3 p.m. Tuesday home doubleheader against Northwestern.