MSU Softball Splits First Two in MSU Invitational II

Midwestern State gained a split in the opening day of the MSU Invitational #2 Friday afternoon at Mustangs Park.

The Mustangs suffered their first blemish on the home field early in the afternoon as Central Missouri came away with a 3-1 victory, then MSU rallied behind ace pitcher Brittney Tanner to take a 2-1 win over St. Mary's (Texas).

In between, St. Mary's defeated Central Missouri by a 3-1 margin as each team logged a 1-1 mark.

Midwestern enjoys a day off before taking on Delta State (Miss.) and St. Edward's Sunday afternoon at Mustangs Park. First pitch is set for noon and 2 p.m., respectively.

The five-team tournament continues with four games on Saturday including Delta State against St. Edward's at 10 a.m., Central Missouri versus St. Edward's at noon, Delta State against St. Mary's at 2 p.m. and Central Missouri versus St. Mary's at 4 p.m.

Central Missouri's Jamin Landreth kept the Mustangs off balance in the opener Friday as the senior improved to 4-1 on the season limiting MSU to one unearned run on six hits while walking three and striking out two.

Midwestern struck for its lone run in the third inning as McKenzie Sickler roped a leadoff double into the right field gap then moved to third on Megan Chartier's infield single.

Sickler made a big turn at third base and appeared to be heading for a run down, but Central Missouri third baseman Katie Groves bobbled the throw from first base allowing Sickler to score and give MSU a 1-0 lead.

The Mustangs maintained the lead into the fifth inning before the Jennies struck for a two-run blast off of the bat of Jaydee Young which followed a bunt single by Ashlea Bengtson.

Central Missouri tacked on an unearned run on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to hand MSU starter Kristina Gutierrez her first loss of the season.

Gutierrez (11-1) allowed three runs - two earned - on five hits while striking out eight and walking one.

Midwestern State would never trail in the second game of the afternoon against St. Mary's as sophomore outfielder Elena Bennett reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Nick Duff's infield single to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

St. Mary's would tie the game in the top of the fourth inning on Katie Nichols' solo homer to left field, but she would be the only Rattler permitted past second base.

The Mustangs plated the deciding run when Kim Jerrick scored when Chartier reached on a throwing error by the catcher after fanning on what should have been the third out in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Tanner (17-2) made the run stand up, allowing one run on three hits while notching 11 strikeouts to one walk.

St. Mary's dipped to 21-14 on the season.