Morningside swept Hastings 9-1 and 14-7 on Thursday in Hastings, Neb., to move into a second place tie with Northwestern in the GPAC softball standings.
The Mustangs, ranked 23rd nationally in the NAIA, improved their record to 14-4 in the GPAC and 26-11 overall. Morningside and Northwestern, also 14-4, trail league frontrunner Midland, which completed its league slate with a 16-4 mark, by one game in the league standings. Morningside will wrap up its regular season with a Saturday home doubleheader against Mount Marty, while the Red Raiders will travel to Hastings on Saturday for their finale.
Abby Conner slugged a two-run home run when the Mustangs scored three times in the top of the third inning to take a 3-0 lead in the opener. Mara Amsberry was on base for Conner’s home run after she walked earlier in the inning. The Mustangs scored their first run of the inning when Tracey Edwards singled, advanced an extra two bases to third on an error by the left fielder and came home on a groundout by Carson Cameron.
Amsberry was hit by a pitch to set up a two-run home run by Cameron when the Mustangs increased their lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth.
Leading 5-1, the Mustangs broke the game open in the top of the seventh when a pair of Hastings errors paved the way to four unearned runs. The Mustangs’ only hit of the inning was a single by Mackenzie Lose.
Cameron went two-for-four with a home run and three RBIs to pace the Mustangs’ offensive attack. The Mustangs also had multiple hit performances from Edwards with a double and single and Ashton Whited with a pair of singles. The Mustangs’ other hits were a home run by Conner and a single by Lose.
Winning pitcher Hallie Misiaszek struck out 12 batters to match her season’s high and allowed only one run on four hits. Misiaszek allowed one run or less for the fifth time in her last six starts.
Morningside had to come back from an early 1-0 deficit in the nightcap after Corrin Ziepke led off the Broncos’ first inning with a home run.
Hastings starting pitcher Kyra Mcguire held Morningside scoreless through the first three innings, pitching out of a no out bases loaded jam in the second, before her outing came to a crashing end when the Mustangs chased her with a 10-run fourth inning to take a 10-1 lead. The Mustangs slugged four home runs in the inning, including back-to-back shots by Lose and Lexie Stolen to start the frame. Jess Walker made it 4-1 with a two-run blast before the big blow came five batters later when Conner delivered a grand slam.
The Broncos did some home run hitting of their own in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run blast by Mikaelah Molifua followed by a solo shot by Kirsten Abbott to make it a 10-4 game.
Morningside capped its scoring with one run in the fifth inning and three runs in the sixth. Edwards singled, stole third and scored on a throwing error by the catcher in the fifth. The Mustangs had five hits in their three-run sixth, including RBI singles by Amsberry, Cameron and Rebecca Riley.
Walker went three-for-five with a home run and Stolen went three-for-three with a double to pace a 15-hit Morningside offensive attack. The Mustangs also had multiple hit performances from Lose with a home run and double and Edwards and Riley, each with two singles.