Article written by Joshua Wheeler
Huskies looking to bounce back after two consecutive one-run losses in their Saturday afternoon matchups against Concordia St. Paul. Huskies would face a quick turnaround after the losses as they now would go up against the number 18 ranked team in the nation in Minnesota State Mankato. St. Cloud State would fall back on Kylie Thomsen, as she would get the nod for the first game against arguably hottest arm in the NSIC in Mackenzie Ward for the Mavericks.
Minnesota State Mankato’s offense would prove effective as it has all season as they would jump ahead early with an RBI single by Hailee Forshee who would reel in Courtney Baxter from second base and put the Mavericks up 1-0 in the second inning. The bats of the Mavericks wouldn’t stop there as they would continue the offense starting the third inning with back to back hits which ultimately ended the day early for Kylie Thomsen. Lauren Kirchberg would come in to try and stop the Mavericks as she was able to successfully get two outs before surrendering an RBI double to Cheyenne Behrends resulting in 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. However, Kirchberg was able to pitch her way out of the third inning. Unfortunately, for the Huskies, Mackenzie Ward remained steadfast in her pitching performance, not letting the Huskies produce more than two hits, both from Raven Vanden Langenberg over the next three Huskies plate appearances. Kirchberg would eventually step out as Emma Eikhoff would step into the circle in an attempt to hold the Mavericks offense to a minimum. Mankato was able to push through a run in the fifth as well as a Hailey Forshee solo homerun in the sixth inning and Mackenzie Ward would shut the Huskies down for good, ending her day with 13 strikeouts and only surrendering two hits through a 7 inning complete game victory.
As for the second game of the afternoon, the Huskies, much like Saturday’s slate, would turn things around offensively as they would send their ace Trinity Junker to the circle in the second game. Huskies despite falling 1-0 early in the third, were able to answer back with the help of Brooke Bowlin and Vanden Langenberg in the bottom half of the third inning putting St. Cloud State in front 2-1. Huskies would continue to chip away at Armbruster through the fourth and early stages of the fifth inning as the Vanden Langenberg would tuck one over the wall to push the Huskies up another run thus the Mavericks would pull her out of trouble and substitute in Katie Bracken to attempt to stop the damage done by the Huskies as they would continue to pour it on after Jasmin Estrada would also go the distance in the bottom of the fifth inning increasing the lead to 5-1 in favor of St. Cloud State. The Mavericks were able to produce the threat of a comeback in the top half of the seventh inning as the Mavericks strung together hits, eventually Baxter would score for Minnesota State Mankato bringing the deficit to 5-2 as Junker hit a few bumps in the road in the seventh inning however was able to quiet the bats after that as the next three Mavericks to the plate would be put out, giving the Huskies the 5-2 victory.