The Golden Eagles improve to 7-11.

CLERMONT, Fla. – The University of Minnesota Crookston softball team picked up a split Sun., March 17 as they opened up their eight-game stint at The Spring Games in Central Florida. The Golden Eagles used a three-hit shutout from Taylor Graven (So., RHP, Greene, Iowa) and timely hitting to upend Caldwell University 2-0. In game two, Minnesota Crookston had opportunities but fell short 3-0 to Saint Michael’s College.

    The Golden Eagles improve to 7-11 with the Sunday split at the Legends Way Ballfields in Clermont, Fla.  The Golden Eagles have already surpassed their six wins from the 2018 slate.

Game One

    Minnesota Crookston had key hits and an outstanding outing from Graven as they secured their first win in Florida, taking down Caldwell 2-0.

    Graven paced the Golden Eagles with an excellent pitching performance, as the mid-year transfer moved to 4-1 on the season. Graven tossed a complete game and shut down the Cougars on just three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

    Minnesota Crookston had six hits on the tilt. Rocky Bjorge (Sr., 1B/3B, Prior Lake, Minn.) led the team by going 2-of-3 with one RBI. Malia Pula (Jr., UT) finished 1-of-3 with one run scored. Mika Rodriguez (Jr., 2B/SS, Laveen, Ariz.) finished 1-of-2 with one run scored. Jordan Peterson (So., C/2B, Lakeville, Minn.) was 1-of-2 for the game, while Leah Macias (Fr., OF, West Covina, Calif.) was 1-of-3.

    Minnesota Crookston broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning as Bjorge singled to drive in Rodriguez and put the Golden Eagles ahead 1-0.

    The Golden Eagles added a security run as Bjorge took second, and Pula came in to score on an errant throw by the catcher down to third base where Pula was stationed. The run moved the advantage to 2-0, which would be the final tally.

Game Two

    Minnesota Crookston competed in a pitcher’s duel in game two against Saint Michael’s College. However, the Golden Eagles were unable to come up with opportune hits as they fell 3-0 to the Purple Knights.

    Mikayla Jones (Sr., RHP, Huxley, Iowa) got the start and had a strong outing overall for Minnesota Crookston, despite falling to 1-3 with the loss. Jones pitched 2.2 innings and gave up two runs on five hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

    Paige Pitlick (Jr., RHP, Jordan, Minn.) was strong in relief, as she dealt 4.1 innings and gave up just one run on three hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

    The Golden Eagles tallied six hits in the second game. Bjorge went 2-of-3 for the game, as did Maggie Morales (Sr., UT, Tucson, Ariz.). Rodriguez and Leah Macias each went 1-of-3.

    Saint Michael’s was paced by Torie Rathwell, who helped herself out on the mound, going 4-of-4 with one RBI and a run scored.

    The Purple Knight broke a scoreless tie in the third as Rathwell doubled to drive in Brandenburg. Saint Michael’s added to their lead later in the third frame when Danielle Markowski doubled to left field to plate Rathwell.

    The Purple Knights extended their advantage to 3-0 when Brandenburg tripled to drive in Courtney Norton.

    The Golden Eagles put up a late effort as Bjorge and Morales led off the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles. Haley Strachan (Sr., OF, Phoenix, Ariz.) reached on a walk to load up the bases. However, Rodriguez would fly out to right field as the Purple Knights squashed the late comeback effort for Minnesota Crookston.

    The Golden Eagles return to action Mon., March 18 as they take on American International College at 12:30 p.m. C.T., and New York Institute of Technology at 2:45 p.m. C.T., at Legends Way Ballfields in Clermont, Fla.