ROCHESTER, Minn. — Winona State’s streak of perfection against NSIC foes finally came to an end on Friday at the NSIC Softball Tournament at the RYFSA Complex in Rochester, Minn.
But the Warriors are still alive.
WSU was shut out in a 1-0 loss to MSU Mankato in the quarterfinals of the double-elimination tournament, but its bats came back to life in an 8-1 victory over Minnesota-Duluth in the loser’s bracket semifinal.
The Warriors advance to face St. Cloud State at 10 a.m. Saturday with the winner advancing to face MSU Mankato at noon. The winner of that contest advances to the championship against Augustana at 2 p.m.
Winona State just couldn’t get its bats going in its loss to Mankato, managing only two hits in the shutout loss.
Mavericks pitcher Mackenzie Ward struck out 13 and walked one in a complete game shutout.
Jordyn Kleman was strong for the Warriors allowing only three hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and four walks.
Mankato scored the game’s lone run in the fourth inning as Kayla Moky scored on a sacrifice fly by Torey Richards.
Katie Kolb and Ann Smolenski had the Warriors’ only hits.
As quiet as WSU’s bats were in their first game of the day, they were just as hot in the second. The Warriors racked up nine hits as it scored eight runs in the win over Duluth.
The Bulldogs struck first as Sammi Sadler homered in the top of the fourth. But WSU answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning and added six more in the fifth.
Kayla Kerkman scored on an Alison Nowak single to tie the game at 1, and Lani Van Zyl gave the Warriors at 2-1 lead as she scored on a wild pitch.
Jen Giesey and Alexis Kelsey each hit two-run homers in the fifth, scoring Makenna McCarthy and Nowak, and Nowak hit a two-run double, driving in Kerkman and Van Zyl.
Liz Pautz got the win in the circle, allowing one run on three hits with 11 strikeouts and one walk.
Winona State is 2-0 against Saturday’s first foe St. Cloud State this season, defeating the Huskies 8-2 and 3-0 in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 20.