The Golden Eagles are now 12-16 overall.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—It was back on the road for the University of Minnesota Crookston softball team, who was in beautiful Sioux Falls, S.D., for a doubleheader with the Cougars of the University of Sioux Falls.

    It was a tale of two games, as the Golden Eagles held the Cougars scoreless in game one, to earn the 1-0 win, but then fell in game two in extra innings 6-5.

    The split for the Golden Eagles ties the school record for wins in the Division II era that was set in 2017 at 12. The Golden Eagles are now 12-16 overall and 1-3 in NSIC play, while the Cougars are 12-15 and 1-4 in conference play.

Game 1

    Pitching duel might be an understatement for game one between the two programs.

    Kerrigan Hoshaw of Sioux Falls and Paige Pitlick (Jr., P, Jordan, Minn.) of Minnesota Crookston didn’t get a lot of run support in game one, but the Golden Eagles only run way back in the first inning was enough for Pitlick and the Golden Eagles to earn the hard fought 1-0 win.

    The only run for the Golden Eagles came on a Maggie Morales (Sr., IF/OF, Tuscon, Ariz.) single down the left field line that scored classmate Haley Strachan (Sr., OF, Phoenix, Ariz.). That would prove to be the game winning run.

    Pitlick is arguably the Golden Eagles number one pitcher and she pitched like it, going all seven innings, while allowing just two hits, while striking out seven and allowing just three walks. The complete game shutout victory moves Pitlick’s win-loss record to 5-9 on the season.

    Offensively, Minnesota Crookston did have five hits from five different hitters. Strachan, Morales, Mika Rodriguez (Jr., SS, Laveen, Ariz.), Sam Proctor (Jr., C, Champlin, Minn.) and Mikayla Jones (Sr., P, Huxley, Iowa) each had one hit on the day for the Golden Eagles.

    The Golden Eagles also left just five runners on base in the game as well.

Game 2

    Game two was very much different than game number one, with the final game of the day having a lot more offense.

    The game would go extra innings and the Golden Eagles did take a lead in the 10th inning, but the Cougars battled back in the 10th inning and walked off the Golden Eagles to win 6-5.

    Minnesota Crookston would see themselves down two in the second as Emily Miller hit a home run off of Golden Eagles starter Taylor Graven (So., P, Greene, Iowa), that scored Francesca Mickelson.

    The Cougars would add two more in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead heading into the top of the fifth inning.

    The Cougars would take that 4-0 lead going into the final inning, but with the Golden Eagles down to their final three outs, that’s when the bats for the maroon and gold came alive.

    Morales started the inning off with a solo home run, to cut the Cougar lead to 4-1. Hannah Macias (Fr., OF, Covina, Calif.) kept the wheels turning with a single. After Allison Martinson (Fr., UT, Grafton, N.D.) struck out, Strachan reached on an error, to bring the tying run up to bat. Leah Macias (Fr., OF, Covina, Calif.) sure picked a great time for her first career home run, as she hit the game tying three run home run over the centerfield fence to tie the game at four.

    That would stay the score for two more extra frames, but the Golden Eagles would take the lead in the top of the tenth on a Malia Pula (Jr., UT, Gilroy, Calif.) solo home run that gave the Golden Eagles their first lead of the game at 5-4.

    The Cougars would score two in the bottom of the tenth to walk off the Golden Eagles and earn the split on the day.

    Through both games, Minnesota Crookston got excellent starting pitching and in game two, it was Graven who was outstanding. Graven went seven innings, while allowing four runs on 10 hits, while striking out eight and allowing zero free passes. Pitlick came in for relief and pitched 2.2 innings, while allowing five hits and two runs. Pitlick picked up the loss and falls to 5-10 on the year.

    Minnesota Crookston did have nine hits on the day, including two from Rocky Bjorge (Sr., 1B/3B, Prior Lake, Minn.) and three from Leah Macias, who also drove in three runs on the day.

    Head coach Travis Owen really liked his team’s compete level on Sunday afternoon.

    “We competed well today,” Owen said. “A few things didn’t go our way but we need to continue to stay focused on what’s under our control and continue to improve. Our pitching and defense was a positive today and we had big bats step up at the end of game two as well.”

    Minnesota Crookston will be right back it on April Fools’ Day as they will play two against Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall, Minn. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.