MSU Softball Splits Games at LSC Tournament

No. 3 Midwestern State had a five-run lead vaporize over two innings Thursday afternoon in the second round of the opening day of the Lone Star Conference Championship at the Durant Multi-Sports Complex.

The Mustangs cruised past Texas Woman's with an 8-0 run-rule win in five innings, then watched East Central comeback for a 9-7 victory to push MSU into the loser's draw where they must win five games over the next two days to claim a third league title.

"It's a long way to go, but our kids are resilient so we're up to the challenge," MSU coach Brady Tigert said.

That road begins with the first of a possible three elimination games Friday at noon against rival Cameron. With a win, the Mustangs would face the winner of Angelo State and Texas Woman's University at 2:30 p.m. That victor moves on to face the loser of the winner's bracket final between West Texas A&M and East Central at 5:30 p.m. for the right to move on to Saturday's championship final.

"Anybody in this tournament can win this thing," Tigert said. "We knew it would be a tough weekend, but we just have to play a little better."

Other first round results were: Angelo State 4, Cameron 0; West Texas A&M 4, Southeastern Oklahoma 0 and East Central 5, Incarnate Word 1.

In elimination play, Cameron beat Southeastern Oklahoma 1-0 and Texas Woman's outlasted Incarnate Word 2-1.

West Texas A&M defeated Angelo State 7-5 in the other winner's bracket semifinal.
First Round
Midwestern State starter Kristina Gutierrez faced the minimum as Texas Woman's 9-hole hitter Addison Staley broke up a perfect game bid with a clean single to center field in the top of the sixth inning.

Staley was caught stealing to erase the Pioneers' lone base runner before the Mustangs ended the game in a run-rule with three runs in the bottom of the frame to cap a 8-0 victory.

Gutierrez improved to 19-2 permitting just one hit while notching five strikeouts in the six inning complete game for her 12th shutout of the campaign.

But she had plenty of support.

Senior designated player Brittney Tanner highlighted a four-run first inning with a two-run blast to right field to give MSU the early advantage.

Alyson Reynolds drilled a solo homer to lead off the fourth, then Amanda Potysman started the sixth with a long homer to right-center field. Nicki Duff, McKenzie Sickler and Courtney Bingham closed the contest with consecutive doubles to plate the final two runs.

Sophomore outfielder Elena Bennett paced MSU's 12-hit attack by going 3-for-3 while Tanner and Chartier added two hits each.

TWU starter Kaylee Davis took the loss to fall to 7-8. The freshman right-hander allowed four runs - three earned - on two hits in one inning of work.

MSU improved to 45-8 on the season, while the Pioneers fell to 29-25.
Second Round
East Central's Cami Correa blasted a two-run walk-off home run to center field to cap off a 9-7 comeback Lady Tigers' victory over Midwestern State in the second round of the Lone Star Conference Championships Thursday afternoon at the Durant Multi-Sports Complex.

The loss pushes the Mustangs into the loser's draw as they now must win five games over the next two days to claim the program's third LSC title and first since winning consecutive crowns in 2006 and 2007.

East Central advances to the winner's bracket final to face West Texas A&M, which beat Angelo State 7-5 Friday afternoon.

Midwestern State jumped all over ECU starter Wanda Malone for five runs over the first two innings.

MSU leadoff hitter Elena Bennett drew a leadoff walk before Megan Chartier raced for an infield single to set up consecutive sacrifice bunts by Courtney Bingham and a Mallory Mooney squeeze play to plate the first run of the game.

Mustangs' starting pitcher Brittney Tanner laced an RBI single through the left-side of the infield to plate the second run.

MSU remained on the attack in the second inning as McKenzie Sickler laced an single to left field and Bennett reached on an infield safety before Bingham roped an RBI double to center field to push the lead to 3-0.

Mooney the blooped a two-run single to left field to push the MSU advantage to 5-0.

The Mustangs appeared to have their foot on the Lady Tigers' throat by loading the bases with one out in the fourth inning, but ECU reliever Randee Crockett induced Bingham into an infield popup and center fielder Brandi Goodrich chased down Mooney's liner in the left-field gap to end the threat.

And that's when momentum shifted and the Lady Tigers finally got to Tanner, who weaved her way through a scoreless first three frames.

ECU's Emily Kennemer stroked a single to right field before Correa launched her first homer of the game to center field and Desiree' Nordi followed with a solo shot two batters later to pull East Central within 5-3.

MSU countered with a two-run homer by Alyson Reynolds in the fifth inning, but Cassandra Nordi keyed a four-run fifth for ECU with a three-run shot to left field to knot the game at 7-7.

Tanner surrendered a season-high seven runs - six earned - on 10 hits while notching seven strikeouts and one walk in five innings before giving way to Kristina Gutierrez in the sixth.

Gutierrez, who took the loss to fall to 19-3, worked a scoreless inning before Kennemer reach on a single to center field and Correa knocked the game winner over the center-field wall.

Malone picked up the win to improve to 19-6 allowing five earned runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings of work.

Bennett, Tanner and Sickler paced MSU's 15-hit attack with three hits each.

Midwestern fell to 45-9 on the season, while East Central improved to 37-14.

MSU's Tanner Named LSC North Pitcher of the Year

Midwestern State's Brittney Tanner headlined a group of 10 Mustangs earning All-Lone Star Conference North Division honors as presented by league officials Thursday night at the LSC Championship Banquet.

Tanner garnered LSC North Pitcher of the Year honors after posting a conference best 26 wins on her way to a 1.48 ERA with a league-high 282 strikeouts with 12 shutouts.

She becomes the third MSU pitcher to gain postseason top pitching honors as Brittany Willson was tapped in 2004 and 2006 while Katie Petersen earned the accolade in 2008 and 2010.

Tanner was joined on the first team by junior third baseman Mallory Mooney, sophomore outfielder Elena Bennett and senior utility player Amanda Potysman.

Mooney enjoyed a stellar campaign posting a .341 batting average setting career highs with 16 doubles and 10 home runs while leading the division with a program single-season record 55 RBIs.

Bennett boasts an LSC best .449 batting average with three doubles, a triple and an MSU single-season high of 37 stolen bases.

The versatile Potysman has started games at every position but center field and pitcher during her collegiate career at MSU. She is hitting .305 with five doubles, eight homers and 29 RBIs in 2011.

Midwestern State also placed two standouts on the second team including senior pitcher Kristina Gutierrez and sophomore outfielder Megan Chartier.

Gutierrez paced all North pitchers with a 0.98 ERA during division play and has constructed an outstanding senior campaign boasting a 19-3 mark with a 1.37 ERA with 207 strikeouts and 12 shutouts.

Chartier has appeared in 46 games while hitting .407 with a pair of doubles and 16 stolen bases.

MSU freshman catcher Kim Jerrick garnered LSC North Freshman of the Year accolades after hitting .341 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs.

She was one of four players to garner All-LSC North honorable mention joining senior first baseman Alyson Reynolds, sophomore second baseman Carey Campbell and senior shortstop McKenzie Sickler.

Brady Tigert gained LSC North Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time in his eight seasons at MSU.

Southeastern Oklahoma State's Jeana Keyes was given player of the year honors while teammate Audra Rhudy earned newcomer of the year status.

MSU's Chartier Named to All-Academic Team

Midwestern State's Megan Chartier garnered Lone Star Conference North Division All-Academic honors Thursday night when the league announced its annual postseason award winners at the LSC Championship Banquet.

Chartier boasts a 3.91 grade-point average as a sophomore finance major and has played a major role in helping the Mustangs to a fifth divisional championship as the South Central Region's top-ranked squad. The Mustangs have carried a Top 10 national ranking throughout much of the season.

The Gatesville native is hitting .407 with a pair of doubles and 16 stolen bases while scoring 27 runs for the Mustangs this season.

Chartier is joined on the all-academic team by Academic Player of the Year Carrie Harvey of Cameron, Emily Kennemer and Nicole Sanchez of East Central, Megan Bentley and Rachel Lowery of Central Oklahoma and Northeastern State's Lisa Ripperger and Kelsi Hilderbrandt.

To be eligible for LSC academic honors, student-athletes must carry at least a 3.30 GPA and have reached sophomore status both athletically and academically.

The academic player of the year award and all-academic team are selected from the list of academically qualified players, with the league's sports information directors voting on the basis of both academic and athletic achievement.