BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University softball team found its hitting groove on Saturday afternoon at the BSU Softball Field. The Beavers racked up 27 runs and 31 hits in a two-game sweep of the University of Minnesota, Morris. Bemidji State beat the Cougars 12-2 in the opener, and then sliced out a nine-run third inning in the nightcap for a 15-1 victory.
In the opening game of the day, Bemidji State pieced together two five-run innings, taking advantage of some timely hitting and UMM miscues in the field.
With a 2-0 lead heading into the third, the Beavers got back-to-back RBI triples from Mara Johnson (So., INF, Bemidji, Minn.) and Jamie Docken (Jr., OF, Owatonna, Minn.) as part of five consecutive base hits by the middle of the Beaver lineup. The offensive onslaught led to five runs in the inning and a 7-0 lead.
One inning later, Johnson roped a double that knocked in Katie Prettyman (So., OF, International Falls, Minn.), who reached on a walk, and Bridget Smith (So., INF, Burnsville, Minn.), who reached on a single. Later in the fourth, Jessica Pullar (So., OF, Elk River, Minn.) also knocked in two runs with a double.
With a healthy 12-0 lead, Ali Willard cruised to her second victory of the season giving up just two runs on three hits and striking out five in the five-inning, complete-game performance.
The nightcap followed the script of the early game with the Beavers taking control early with some potent offense. After manufacturing two runs in the second for a 2-1 lead, BSU busted out a nine-run third inning with nine hits and taking advantage of two Cougar errors. After three straight singles by Ashley Leopold (Fr., INF, Afton, Minn.), Johnson, and Docken brought a couple runs around to score, Michelle Taylor and Kelly Carlson (So., C, Hines, Minn.) inflicted some damage of their own knocking in runs with a triple and single, respectively.
BSU tacked on three more runs in the fifth inning. Amy Klaers (So., INF, Elk River, Minn.) and Brittany Bolstad (Fr., OF, International Falls, Minn.) led off the inning with singles before Taylor let a bomb fly for her first home run of the season.
The 15-1 lead was more than enough for Kristen Paine (Jr., P, Chisholm, Minn.) and Lindsey Imhof (Sr., P, Littlefork, Minn.) who were very effective against the Cougar offense. Paine gave up just one run on two hits and struck out four in three innings, while Imhof gave up no runs, just one hit, and struck out three in the final two innings of the 15-1 win.
The Beavers (3-11, 1-4 NSIC) will be back on their home turf on Sunday afternoon to take on the Marauders from the University of Mary (N.D.). The first pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 1 p.m.