Warriors grab eighth consecutive victory


Sam Thiel/ Winonan

The Winona State University softball team had a personal home run derby, belting six long balls as the Warriors swept Concordia-St. Paul, Wednesday in St. Paul. Winona State had three solo shots in a 3-2 win in the opener before crushing out three more homers in a 14-4 victory in the nightcap.

Ashley Walker, Morgan Lintz and Mary Turitto each hit home runs in the first game before seeing Reed Karsten, Jenny Nelson and Lintz go deep in the second game. Winona State put on a hitting clinic dealing out 27 hits, 11 of those going for extra bases.

Walker became the 12th player in Winona State history to reach 100 RBIs when she swatted a pitch over the right-center fence in the first inning of the opener to give the Warriors a 1-0 advantage.

Lintz surpassed a milestone of her own in the second inning, crushing her 20th home run of her career—a solo shot to give the Warriors an advantage of 2-1. Only six other Warriors have had 20 home runs in their careers. Turitto also added to the onslaught in the second, following Lintz’ homer with one of her own to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead.

The Golden Bears would cut the deficit to one in the bottom half of the second, but neither squad would score the rest of the game to give Winona State the victory, 3-2.

Walker improved her record to 8-4 on the hill, tossing a complete game while giving up a pair of runs, one of which was earned. She also had a trio of strikeouts, while getting herself out of a jam, with the bases loaded in the seventh to cement the victory.

The Warriors recorded 11 hits in the first game, with Reed Karsten, Lexi Perez and Turitto each posting two.

Winona State raced out to lead in the second game, plating three runs in the first inning on RBI singles by Evie Schaller, Lintz and Turitto. Concordia-St. Paul answered back with a run in the bottom of the first and three more in the second to claim a 4-3 lead.

The Golden Bear’s time atop the scoreboard would be short, as the Warriors plated five in the third to reclaim the lead, 8-4. Two singles and a walk put runners on every base for the Warriors in the third with Shannon Nelson bringing in the first run of the inning with a RBI single.

Karsten highlighted the inning off two batters later, swatting a three-run shot over the left field fence to give the Warriors a 7-4 lead. Walker drew a walk and was brought around on a double by Nelson to finish off the scoring for Winona State.

The Warriors weren’t done on the deep ball. Nelson hit a two-run shot in the fifth to plate Karsten who started the inning off with a single.

Lintz finished off the sweep in the seventh, hitting a grand slam over the left field fence to increase the lead, 14-4. The home run gave the junior her second milestone of the day, joining Walker in the Winona State’s 100-RBIs club.

“Overall, offensively we all did a really nice job staying patient and taking better approaches at the plate,” Lintz said. “I think everyone was very determined to not only get these four games in despite the weather but also come out with four wins, and I felt that we did a great job putting at bats together when necessary to score runners.”

The Warriors got production from its entire offense, with seven different players posting two hits. Jenny Nelson went 2-of-2 from the plate with a double, home run and three RBIs, while Lintz went 2-for-4 with five RBIs.

Hanna Lythberg improved her record to 12-2 on the mound after striking out seven while tossing a complete game.

Winona State was victorious in two different ways on Friday, exploding on the offensive end in the opener and getting a shutout from Lythberg in the nightcap to sweep Minnesota State University Moorhead.

The Warriors plated 14 runs for the second time to earn a 14-4 victory in the first game before coasting to a 2-0 victory in the second game thanks to Lythberg.

Winona State got right to scoring in the first inning of game one, plating three in their first time at the plate. Singles by Brooke Piotrowski and Ashley Walker, and a walk by Karsten loaded the bases, setting the Warriors up for their trio of runs. Jenny Nelson hit a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Piotrowski, while Lintz plated Karsten on a single. Walker came around to score in the frame on a sacrifice fly by Turitto.

Moorhead recovered all three runs in the top of the third, getting a two-run homer by Brittany York and an RBI single from Kristen Nordby later in the inning to tie it up at three.

The Warriors would reclaim the lead in the bottom half of the third, scoring twice to take a 5-3 advantage. Winona State once again put runners on all of the bases with Schaller coming through with a single to score a pair.

Winona State tacked on to its lead, scoring three more runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a 10-4 lead. Walker got an RBI on a groundout in the fourth, with another run scoring on the play, thanks to an error by the Dragons. Lintz chipped in a double to score one and improve the Warrior’s advantage, 8-3.

The Dragons got a run back in the top of the fifth, but Walker came through again with a single to bring around Lexi Perez and Piotrowski and extend Winona State’s lead, 10-4.

The Warriors capped the opener with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Allyson O’Herron singled to plate Brianna Hornberg, setting up a three-run homer by Jessica Kullmann to finish the game and give Winona State a victory, 14-4.

Michelle Lund (3-0) earned the victory on the hill, tossing 3 and 1/3 innings in relief, allowing four hits and one run.

The nightcap was a pitcher’s duel out of the gate, with both pitchers taking shutouts into the sixth inning. The Warriors got two runs in the bottom of the frame, with Karsten and Walker getting on base to begin the rally. Lintz followed up with a two-run single to right-center, giving the Warriors the victory and the sweep.

Lythberg allowed three hits and struck out seven to improve her record to 13-2 on the year.

A one-hitter on the mound from Walker earned Winona State another sweep, this one against Northern State on Saturday.

The Warriors plated five runs in the bottom half of the fourth of the opener to pull away with an 8-0 five-inning win while recording six runs in both the first and fourth innings of the nightcap to finish the sweep, 12-4.

Walker (9-4) only allowed a single in the top of the second, walking none and recording four strikeouts. She chipped in a home run and three RBIs.

“It was a little challenging to stay focused at first due to the rain delays and pushing our games back because it was difficult to get into game mode, but once I was in my groove, it became easier to maintain focus,” Walker said. “Our defense was strong behind me, which always helps take the pressure off the pitcher and it played a key role in both of our wins today.”

Winona State got on the scoreboard in the second inning of game one, getting an RBI groundout from Cydnei Gunderson to plate Lintz, who started things off with a single.

Walker tacked on two runs to the Warrior effort in the third inning, slapping a home run over the left-center fence to give Winona State a 3-0 lead. This was the 20th of her career and she became the eighth player in school history to reach that milestone. She joined Lintz in the 20-homer club, with the first baseman surpassing the mark earlier in the week at Concordia-St. Paul.

Karsten netted her second hit of the game one batter before Walker, setting her up for the two-run shot.

The Warriors pulled away in the fourth, plating five to take an 8-0 lead. Walker brought in the first run on a sacrifice fly and Nelson singled to score another. Lintz put the exclamation point on the inning, belting a three-run home run to make the advantage 8-0.

Karsten and Lintz each went 2-for-3 while Nelson posted hits in both of her at bats. Lintz and Walker each brought in three runs to pave the way for the Warriors.

After allowing three runs in the top of the first in the nightcap, Winona State recorded six runs on one hit in the bottom half of the frame to stake a 6-3 advantage. The last three runs in the inning from Winona State were scored with thanks to Northern State errors.

Neither team would score again until the bottom of the fourth, with Winona State netting its second six-run inning of the game to build its advantage to 12-3.

A single by Karsten and a double by Walker placed a pair of runners on to begin the inning.

Nelson followed up with an RBI double to plate both runners while scoring herself one batter later thanks to a Turitto single.

Schaller followed with a single of her own to improve the lead, 10-3. Karly Olson brought one more hit later in the inning with a final runner scoring on a Wolf error during the play.

Northern State was able to get an unearned run in the top half of the fifth, but Michelle Lund got out of the jam to cement the victory.

The Warriors needed seven hits to record their 12 runs, and drew eight walks in the second game.

Lythberg improved her record to 14-2 on the season, tossing four innings and striking out two. The sophomore allowed three runs on three hits in the first inning before getting in the zone, not giving up a hit the rest of the game.

Winona State (28-6 overall, 11-3 NSIC) will finish its six-game homestand Tuesday when it plays host to Minnesota State.