MASON CITY, Iowa – A freshman-filled NIACC softball team lost both ends of their season opening conference doubleheader against Southwestern Community College on Saturday afternoon, 10-4 in game one and 8-0 in a five inning game two.
The Trojans (6-6 overall, 0-2 in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference) couldn’t overcome Southwestern’s seven-run third inning in game one, and didn’t figure out Spartan pitcher Courtney Wagner in game two. Wagner struck out 13 of 21 Trojans in game two.
Southwestern infielder Hannah Sneed made things worse for NIACC by going 5-for-7 for the day with 7 RBI, a grand slam, and a solo homerun.
Trojan outfielder Krista Grutz (Fr., Dubuque, IA) was 4-for-7 in the doubleheader, and had three of NIACC’s four hits in game two. Katie Gross (Fr., Crystal Lake, IA) was the only multi-RBI performer after she hit a two-run homerun in the fourth inning of the first game. She has three homeruns this season.
Southwestern took advantage of NIACC errors in game one’s third inning. Spartan outfielder Sarah Meinecke reached base after a ball got away from Trojan second baseman Lisa Jorgensen (Fr., Rockwell, IA). The next batter, Dannyielle Barger, then drove a two-run homerun off of pitcher Hailee Eckstein (Fr., Larsen, WI) to score the first runs of the game.
After a pair of singles and a fielder’s choice that didn’t produce an out loaded the bases, Sneed knocked one over the left field wall to empty them. Southwestern added one more before the end of the inning and another in the fourth.
Gross’ two run homerun in the fourth sparked the Trojan offense for the rest of the game. During a stretch of three straight two-out singles in the fifth, Beth Mildenhall (Fr., Eldora, IA) scored off a Kaylor Tiffany (Fr., Cornville, AZ) single to make it 8-3, and an illegal pitch moved Grutz and Tiffany into scoring position for team RBI leader Cassie Pappas (Fr., Mason City, IA). Southwestern pitcher Leah Kepfer forced Pappas into a groundout to end the threat.
Southwestern would add two more in the top of the sixth with Sneed driving in one more on a single, and catcher Carla Smith scoring on a wild pitch. Mildenhall brought in Gross on a single in the bottom half of the inning to end the scoring for game one.
NIACC allowed five runs in the first two innings of game two. Sneed’s solo homerun and Kelsey Moore’s two run homerun in the fifth brought the final score of 8-0. The Spartans had 10 hits off of Trojan pitcher Jessica Robinett (Fr., Maxwell, IA), who came into the game 1.62 ERA.
Anne Studer’s (Fr., Titonka, IA) single in the second was the only Trojan hit outside of Grutz’s three in game two. The Trojans only had seven base runners in that game.
NIACC will host defending ICCAC champion No. 14 Kirkwood on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Southwestern 007 102 0 – 10 9 0
NIACC 000 232 0 – 4 8 3
Leah Kepfer (7 K, 3 BB, 2 HBP) and Carla Smith. 2B – London Miller. HR – Dannyielle Barger. GS – Hannah Sneed. Multiple hits – Sneed 2, Kepfer 2, Barger 2. Multiple RBI – Sneed 5, Barger 2.
Hailee Eckstein (1 K, 3 BB, 1 HPB) and Katie Faro. HR – Katie Gross. Multiple hits – Beth Mildenhall 2. Multiple RBI – Gross 2.
Southwestern 230 03 – 8 10 0
NIACC 000 00 – 0 4 1
Courtney Wagner (13 K, 3 BB) and Taylor Powers. 3B – Smith. HR – Sneed, Moore. Multiple hits – Sneed 3, Moore 2. Multiple RBI – Sneed 2, Moore 2, Smith 2.
Jessica Robinett (1 K, 1 HBP) and Cassie Pappas. 2B – Grutz. Multiple hits – Grutz 3.