Softball wins three of four games to open season in Minnesota

Evan Moris, Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh women’s softball team opened their season last weekend in Rochester, Minnesota at the Rochester Community Technical College Dome. The Titans played four games prevailing victorious in three of them.

Game one

The UWO women’s team began the weekend dominating Buena Vista University (IA), 8-0. UWO used a four-run fourth inning to one up a 6-0 lead.
The Titans finished their season opener with 11 hits and only one error. Senior pitcher Bailey Smaney threw a complete game, giving up zero runs and only five hits allowed.

Game two

Hours later, the Titans turned to face St. Thomas University (MN). UWO struggled offensively as they were only able to score one run, leading to a 9-1 loss.
Oshkosh gave up five runs on five hits in the first two innings creating a deficit that the Titans could not overcome. Shortstop Natalie Dudek was the only UWO player to reach home base versus St. Thomas.
On Sunday, The Titans played two more games.

Game three

In the first game, UWO defeated Gustavus Adolphus College (MN) 11-0 in five innings. Smaney pitched another complete game, this time allowing only one hit while striking out two.
Offensively, Dukek lead the charge with three hits, batted in two runs and scored once. UWO recorded 11 runs on 13 hits to put away Gustavus Adolphus College.

Game four

In the final game of the weekend, UWO was victorious over Wesleyan University (NE) 8-2. A five-run first inning was enough to put the game out of reach.
Dudek, first baseman Kaitlyn Krol and right fielder Natalie Dillon each tallied two hits a piece as they accounted for half of the Titans’ runs.

Titan pitcher Claire Petrus had a bounce-back outing versus Wesleyan, throwing a complete game and allowing only two earned runs and striking out as many batters.
Smaney said the key to success over the weekend was getting ahead early.

“As a team we attacked early and scored first in almost every game,” Smaney said. “Our hitters put pressure on the other teams right away and made them make mistakes. No matter if it was the top or bottom of the lineup, everyone was hitting the ball hard.”

Smaney performed extremely well over the weekend, pitching 11 scoreless innings, allowing only six hits and striking out as many batters. Smaney said her aggressiveness on the mound put the team and herself in a good spot to play well.

“I trusted my defense and attacked batters right away,” Smaney said. “I tried to get ahead early and keep a good mix of pitches.”

Head coach Scott Beyer said the team is happy and used the early season as an opportunity to better themselves as they prepare for conference play.

“Playing this early is a great way to keep the team motivated in practice and gives us things to work on,” Beyer said. “We played the No. 7 ranked team in the country and a few other quality teams last weekend. We learned who we are now and what we might be capable of moving forward. Getting tested early is important because the WIAC is going to be the best conference in the country this year, and we will need to be battle tested before we get to those games.”

The UW Oshkosh softball team won’t play again until a double header March 23 at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.