Kendra Merritt pitched strong despite taking the loss in game two. She is now 10-12 on the season.
Mankato, Minn.- St. Cloud State dropped a pair of 2-0 ball games to #9 Minnesota State on Tuesday afternoon.
It was the last time the Huskies will be on the road this season. They finish the regular season with a 4-10 away record. SCSU is now 20-28 overall on the season and have a 6-16 record in NSIC play.
Samantha Kanak started off game one with an infield base hit for St. Cloud State. That is the last time a Husky would reach base in the game as Minnesota State senior Kendra Huettle retired the next 20 SCSU hitters (Kanak was caught stealing for the final out of the first inning). The Mavericks got a run in the third and added an unearned run in the fourth off of freshman pitcher Kelly Franks, who earlier in the day was named NSIC Pitcher of the Week. Franks went all six innings giving up just one earned run on eight hits. She finished the game with nine strike outs.
"Game one was a pitchers duel with Franks getting nine strike outs to Huettle’s 11, unfortunately we struggled to put together an offensive answer against their ace and dropped game one by a couple runs," said SCSU head coach Paula U’Ren. "It was a quality game by our team against the top team in the conference."
Game two was another pitchers ball game as this time it was freshman Kendra Merritt on the mound for the Huskies. Merritt held the Mavericks hitless in the first four innings and the game was scoreless into the fifth. The Huskies were unable to get the bats going once again though and finished the game with just three hits.
Minnesota State finally broke through in the fifth with a run on an rbi single. The ninth-ranked Mavericks added one more in the sixth to take another two run advantage. Merritt was pulled for Franks with one out in the sixth. Merritt finished the game going five and a third innings and surrendering just the two runs on four hits. Franks finished up the inning, striking out one. SCSU put together a pair of two out singles in the top of the seventh but a ground out ended their come back attempt.
"We played with them in both games today behind the outstanding pitching of Kelly Franks and Kendra Merritt," added U’Ren. "Our defense behind the plate and in the field was also outstanding. The second game we had an opportunity with Olson getting a lead off double in a 0-0 game but we couldn't get the run across the plate to get the lead."
"We didn't back down today and competed at a high level but give Mankato credit, they showed why they are the top team in the conference with their timely hitting and solid pitching. Two 2-0 games shows we can be right there with them in all facets of the game."
St. Cloud State will play host to MSU Moorhead on Saturday at Selke Field in St. Cloud followed by Minnesota, Crookston on Sunday. Both dates are doubleheaders scheduled for 1:00/3:00 p.m.