The Golden Eagles drop to 12-18 (1-5 NSIC) .

MARSHALL, Minn. – The University of Minnesota Crookston softball team put together two solid efforts, but fell short 12-4 and 2-1 to Southwest Minnesota State University at Mattke Field at the Schwan Regional Event Center in Marshall, Minn. The Golden Eagles were tied 4-4 with the Mustangs going into the sixth inning of the first game before allowing eight runs in the final stanza. In game two, Paige Pitlick (Jr., RHP, Jordan, Minn.) put together another great outing in the circle, but the Mustangs won in walk-off fashion 2-1.

    The Golden Eagles drop to 12-18 (1-5 NSIC) with Monday’s losses. Minnesota Crookston remains just one win shy of setting their school record with 13 victories. The Golden Eagles tied the school mark with their 12th win Sun., March 31 with a win over University of Sioux Falls. The mark was previously set during the 2017 season.

    Southwest Minnesota State remains unblemished in the NSIC with an 11-7 (6-0 NSIC) record.

    “In game one we had good approaches at the plate to get four runs off of their top pitcher,” said Head Coach Travis Owen. “We were in that game until their final big inning. In game two, we weren’t quite where we needed to be offensively at the start of the game. Paige pitched well against a good hitting team. We need to bounce back and come out strong offensively against Minnesota Duluth later this week.”

Game One

    The Golden Eagles held their own for four frames as they were knotted up 4-4 going into the bottom of the sixth. The Mustangs were led by eight runs in the seventh inning. Alex Reak had a two RBI double, while Emma Grote picked up a two RBI single to help Southwest Minnesota State to the win.

    Taylor Graven (So., RHP, Greene, Iowa) had another quality start for the Golden Eagles as she tossed four innings, and allowed four runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Mikayla Jones (Sr., RHP, Huxley, Iowa) came on in relief and picked up the loss as she went 1.2 inning and gave up eight runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

    Athena Golling picked up the win for the Mustangs after throwing six innings with just two earned runs allowed on eight hits with eight strikeouts and a walk.

    Minnesota Crookston was led by Rocky Bjorge (Sr., 1B/3B, Prior Lake, Minn.), who was 2-of-3 with two RBIs. Malia Pula (Jr., UT, Gilroy, Calif.) went 2-of-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Haley Strachan (Sr., OF, Phoenix, Ariz.) finished 1-of-1 for the day.

    The Mustangs were guided by Grote, who was 4-of-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored from her leadoff spot. Abbie Decker went 2-of-4 with three RBIs, while Reak was 2-of-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.

    Southwest Minnesota State took the 2-0 advantage in the first frame. Bailey Johnson started the scoring as she hit an RBI triple to center field to drive in Grote. A Reak single plated Johnson to push the lead to 2-0.

    Minnesota Crookston got the runs back as Bjorge singled and moved to third on an error, driving in Pula, and Leah Macias (Fr., OF, West Covina, Calif.) knotting the game up 2-2.

    The Mustangs got the lead back 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth as Decker singled up the middle to drive in Sara DeSmet and Kaylee Hentges.

    The Golden Eagles came right back in the top of the fifth as Pula tripled down the left field line to plate Hannah Macias (Fr., OF, West Covina, Calif.). Minnesota Crookston tied up the game 4-4 when Bjorge doubled to center field to drive in Pula.

    The Mustangs broke the tie in the sixth when Kali Tomlinson singled to plate Grote. Reak extended the stanza with a double down the line to bring in Tomlinson and Johnson to extend the lead to 7-4. A Lileya Bebos single brough in Reak to move the advantage to 8-4. The big inning continued when Madysson Schlinz hit an infield single to bring in Kebos. Southwest Minnesota State pushed the lead to 11-4 as Grote singled to center field to plate Hentges and Madison Krog. The final run of the game crossed when Decker singled to put the tally at 12-4.

Game Two

    The Golden Eagles looked to respond in game two put on the back of Pitlick. The two squads were knotted up 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh when Johnson hit a walk-off single to center field to drive in Grote as the Mustangs won 2-1.

    Pitlick has been in great form for Minnesota Crookston as of late. The junior went 4-4 in March with a 2.88 ERA in 50.0 innings with four complete games with 44 strikeouts and 18 walks. Pitlick built on those numbers as she tossed a complete game with just two runs allowed on nine hits with six strikeouts and two walks. She moves to 5-11 with Monday’s loss.

    Megan Cull got the start and went 6.1 innings, allowing just one run on seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Golling earned the win in relief, after allowing no runs on one hit in 0.2 innings of work.

    Minnesota Crookston was led by Strachan and Hannah Macias, who both had two hits on the day.

    The Mustangs were guided by Grote, who was 3-of-4 with a run scored, while Hentges was 2-of-3 with a run scored.

    Southwest Minnesota State broke the scoreless tie in the third as Decker reached on a fielder’s choice, driving in Hentges.

    Minnesota Crookston countered in the fifth when Leah Macias reached on a fielder’s choice, driving in pinch-runner Tavia Lawson (So., OF/C, Hawley, Minn.).

    The Mustangs broke the 1-1 tie in the seventh when Johnson singled to center field to drive in Grote, as Southwest Minnesota State walked off with the win.

    The Golden Eagles are slated to return to action Wed., April 3 at 1 and 3 p.m., against University of Minnesota Duluth at the UMC Softball Field in Crookston, Minn.