by DAVID ALBRECHT
Number-22 Winona State University settled for a four-game weekend split at the Hy-Vee Classic on Saturday afternoon following a pair of losses on the same day for just the second time this season. Winona State will head into its conference schedule next week with an overall record of 15-5.
In a top-25 matchup to begin the day, the Warriors were bested by number-two Central Oklahoma, 5-1, before being shut out by tournament host Missouri Western State in the finale, 1-0. It marked the third shutout for WSU this season as the Warriors struggled to break through with clutch hits in the second game.
Winona State out-hit Missouri Western, 8-5, but failed to scratch the plate one day removed from producing multiple two-out run-scoring hits. The Warriors stranded nine runners on the basepaths in the loss.
Liz Pautz (4-2) followed up her 13-strikeout gem on Friday with another complete game effort in the tough-luck loss. The sophomore scattered five hits and allowed just one run while striking out seven over 6.0 IP.
The Griffons scored the lone run of the affair with some two-out magic of their own, recording back-to-back hits after Pautz sat down the first two batters she faced in the bottom of the first frame.
In the top of the first, Alison Nowak lined into an inning-ending double play with two runners aboard in one of the Warriors’ scoring opportunities that went to waste in the game. Trailing 1-0 in the top of the fourth, Lani Van Zyl and Nowak singled to open the frame before both runners were stranded. In the fifth, Katie Kolb doubled with two outs and moved to third on a single by Kayla Kerkman before the inning came to an end. Winona State once more put two runners aboard in its final at-bats of the seventh with Kolb and Kerman reaching before the ballgame concluded.
The Warriors played from behind all afternoon as Central Oklahoma plated a pair of runs on a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the first to begin the day. Winona State answered quickly this time with a run in the top of the second which ultimately proved to be their only tally of the twinbill.
Alexis Kelsey and Rylee Stout singled to open the second frame, and two batters later Carly Kordich singled to load the bases with two outs. Kolb was next with a bases-loaded walk to force in a run and make it a 2-1 tilt. WSU was unable to knot the score though, stranding three runners on base which set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon.
Jordyn Kleman (7-1) suffered her first loss of the season after allowing four runs on six hits over 3.2 IP. The junior walked three batters and recorded three strikeouts against the number-two-ranked Bronchos. Alyssa Van Valey provided WSU another valient effort out of the bullpen, allowing just one run on two hits over 2.1 IP while striking out three.
Winona State also out-hit Central Oklahoma in the earlier setback, 9-8, as Kordich went 3-for-3 at the plate.
Number-two Central Oklahoma improves to 26-2 with the win over WSU.