Sam Thiel/ Winonan
The No. 19 Winona State University softball team hit the road this weekend, coming up with four victories in the start of NSIC play.
Starting with a doubleheader matchup against University of Minnesota Crookston, Winona State used Ashley Walker’s pitching performance to its advantage en route to a 3-2 victory Saturday.
Winona State started the scoring with a run in the top of the first, with Lexi Perez scoring on a mishap by the centerfielder to take the lead 1-0.
Morgan Lintz tacked on another run in the top of the third, homering to left. Reed Karsten then drove in Evie Schaller on a double play to give the Warriors a 3-0 advantage.
The Winona State defense managed to keep the Golden Eagles off of the board until the bottom of the seventh when Crookston scored a pair of runs to cut the deficit to one, 3-2, but that was all they got.
Walker picked up her eighth victory of the season, going seven innings and allowed two runs on two hits while striking out a pair.
In the nightcap the Warriors exploded on the offensive end, ultimately sweeping the Golden Eagles with a 9-1 victory Saturday.
After going scoreless in the opening two innings, Winona State struck first in the top of the third with six runs.
Perez got things going with an RBI single scoring Natalie Kalmes. Walker added a double that scored two and McKenna Larsen capped off the inning with a three-run shot to left to give the Warriors a 6-0 lead.
Walker put Winona State up 7-0 with an RBI single to score Jordan Petersen in the next inning. After a home run by Crookston in the bottom half of the frame made it 7-1, Larsen went over the fence for the second time, this time a two-run blast to ice the game in the top of the sixth.
“I think we did a great job of adjusting to the pitcher as the game went on,” Larsen said. “I think it’s just a matter of executing when runners are in scoring position that will keep our offense rolling.”
Hanna Lythberg became the first Warrior pitcher to notch double-digit wins, going six innings and giving up just one run and five hits while striking out six.
Winona State continued its winning ways, taking a 5-1 victory over Bemidji State Sunday.
Despite a 1-0 deficit heading into the fifth inning, Karsten singled to score both Shannon Nelson and Cydnei Gunderson in the top of the fifth to claim a 2-1 advantage for the Warriors.
Winona State then tacked on a trio of runs in the seventh to put the game away. Karsten started the scoring with an RBI double and later scored on a RBI bunt by Lintz. Larsen added an RBI flyout to make it the 5-1 final.
Walker gave up only one run while fanning five Bemidji State players in a complete game effort.
In the nightcap, the Warriors completed the weekend sweep with an 8-0 shutout over the Beavers.
Lythberg tossed another complete game, allowing five hits with six strikeouts to move to 11-3 on the year.
Larsen started things off with an RBI double in the top half of the second to bring in Lintz. Kalmes later brought Larsen around with an RBI single to right, with Kalmes scoring on a double steal to give Winona State a 3-0 advantage.
Lintz chipped in with an RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth, and the Warriors tacked on two more runs in the fifth thanks to a wild pitch and an RBI flyout by Larsen.
Larsen and Evie Schaller added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh to solidify the Warriors victory.
Winona State (22-7 overall, 4-0 NSIC) will head to Nebraska on Tuesday to face Wayne State College. They will return home for doubleheaders against University of Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State University over the weekend at home.