MSU Softball Shuts Out St. Mary's in Regional

St. Mary's ace Emily Brittain had Midwestern State's powerful lineup totally off balance Friday night in the opening round of South Central Regional 1 play at Pioneer Field.
Fortunately for the Mustangs, they had the ultimate form of Rattler kryptonite as Laci Belovsky weaved her eighth shutout of the year to lead MSU to a 4-0 win.
"It's always good to start with a win," MSU coach Brady Tigert said. "It was a tight game and quite a battle for us. (Brittain) was very strong which led to our early struggles."
It was Belovsky's second blanking of the Rattlers, who fell to 43-14 on the season. The other game in an 8-0 no-hit, run-rule win back in March at the Courtyard by Marriott Invitational in Wichita Falls.
But Brittain handcuffed the Mustangs for six innings Friday night on three hits with just three balls leaving the infield on singles by Shelby Carter and Haley Howerton in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.
"We didn't put together very many good ABs early and weren't doing what we were taught," Tigert said. "As the game progressed, we got more quality at bats. We felt comfortable with Katelyn (Vinson) at the plate (to lead off the seventh). She has been (producing) all season."
Once again, the frosh from Southlake served up just what the Mustangs needed at just the right time. Vinson drilled a 2-1 Brittain offering over the center field fence for her 22nd home run of the season to break the scoreless tie in the top of the seventh inning.
"Coach always says if it's in my zone to drive it," Vinson said. "I had to take it pitch-by-pitch and see each one of them at a time. Just breathe, relax and swing."
The swing ignited a rally as Kelley Schaefer and Shelby Carter reached on infield singles then Carey Campbell lined an RBI single to left field to give MSU a 2-0 advantage.
MSU junior Kim Jerrick drew a one-out walk before Haley Howerton reached on a fielder's choice to plate a third run of the inning. The Mustangs tacked on another unearned run to push the Mustangs' advantage to four runs.
Belovsky produced a final 1-2-3 frame to clinch her 27th win over the season. The Grangerland native allowed five hits and notched five strikeouts.
Carter and Campbell had two hits each to pace MSU's 7-hit attack.
Brittain took the loss for St. Mary's to fall to 26-5 on the season. She allowed four runs - three earned - on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Midwestern State (43-15) Texas Woman's (47-12) in the winner's bracket final Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.

Mustangs Place Four on NFCA All-Region Team

Midwestern State placed four players on the National Fast-pitch Coaches' Association's All-South Central Region squad as released Friday afternoon.
Senior outfielder Courtney Bingham, junior catcher Kim Jerrick, sophomore third baseman Kelley Schaefer and freshman designated player Katelyn Vinson all garnered first-team honors.
Bingham was named to the NFCA all-region team for the third straight earning second-team mention in 2012 and was also a first-team performer last season.
The Arlington native earned first-team All-Lone Star Conference honors for the second consecutive year hitting .391 with 23 doubles, six triples and four homers with 64 RBIs.
Jerrick earned her first all-region honor after hitting .431 with 17 doubles and 19 homers while driving in 54 runs.
The Belle Plaine, Kan. native is a two-time All-Lone Star Conference performer earned first-team accolades in 2012 and 2013 and was the league's Freshman of the Year in 2011.
Schaefer hit .426 in her first season at the hot corner with six doubles, a triple and 13 homers while driving in a team-high 69 runs.
The Waco Midway High product earned All-LSC first-team honors this season after she was named to the third team in 2011.
Bingham, Jerrick and Schaefer were all named to the LSC's Golden Glove team.
Vinson earned first-team mention after enjoying one of the best offensive seasons in LSC history.
The freshman from Southlake is challenging the league's all-time batting average record chasing East Central's Charene Hiesl, who hit .517 in 1997.
Vinson hit .509 with 12 doubles, 22 homers and 67 RBIs to rank among national leaders in all categories.