#13 Minnesota State eliminated Wayne State College from the 2011 Northern Sun Conference Softball Tournament with a 6-2 win over the Wildcats Saturday morning at Bowden Field in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The 47-11 Mavericks now advance to face #8 Augustana in the championship game while Wayne State ends the regular season with a 36-15 record. Wayne State, ranked third in the NCAA Division II Central Regional Rankings entering the NSIC Tournament, is expected to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament when pairings are released Monday morning.
The Mavericks opened the scoring with an unearned run in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. The score remained that way until the bottom of the fourth inning when WSC tied the score at 1-1 when Sam Earleywine walked to open the inning and later scored on a Hannah Engelkamp run-scoring single up the middle. But Minnesota State came right back and regained the momentum in the top of fifth by scoring three runs on four hits to take a 4-1 lead.
Wayne State cut into the Maverick lead with a single run in the bottom of the fifth inning as Kassie Nurton led off the inning with a single and scored on a Sam Earleywine double to right center field to make the score 4-2. Minnesota State added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning off WSC reliever Jordan Harris, giving the Mavericks a 6-2 advantage. The Wildcats made things interesting in the seventh inning, loading the bases with one out on a pair of walks and a hit batter. But Minnesota State reliever Courtney McKelvogue got Blaire Kuhl to hit into an infield fly and Slone Masters struck out swinging to end the game as the Mavericks prevailed 6-2.
Minnesota State had 12 hits in the game to just three for the Wildcats. Wayne State hits were singles by Engelkamp and Nurton and a double by Sam Earleywine. Engelkamp and Earleywine each had one RBI while Nurton and Earleywine each scored one run.
Katie Goetzinger suffered the pitching loss, falling to 29-8 on the season. The senior was charged with nine hits and four runs (three earned) over five innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Freshman Jordan Harris pitched the final two innings, allowing two runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Story courtesy of Wayne State athletics.