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College softball: Lady Jays don't get the hits, fall twice

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West just couldn't find the timely hits as it fell twice to MState-Fergus Falls in a Minnesota Collegiate Athletic Conference softball doubleheader Friday in Worthington, losing the first game 13-5 and the second 5-2.

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Minnesota West softball player Katherin Ihnen (sliding) is caught off second base by MState-Fergus Falls' Doranna Blasyck Friday afternoon. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West just couldn’t find the timely hits as it fell twice to MState-Fergus Falls in a Minnesota Collegiate Athletic Conference softball doubleheader Friday in Worthington, losing the first game 13-5 and the second 5-2.

The Lady Jays had runners on base throughout both games, but struggled to push them in, stranding eight runners in Game 1 and six in Game 2.

“We played with a very good team -- these guys are good,” MW head coach Jeff Linder said. “We had the opportunities. We were playing with them the whole way, but we couldn’t get the timely hits. We left too many players on base. You can’t do that. When you’ve got a runner on second and one out, you’ve got to get a base hit no matter what.”

West played close with the Spartans throughout Game 1, as the teams were tied 2-2 through three innings and the Lady Jays jumped ahead 4-2 in the fourth. But the game got away from them when pitcher Katherin Ihnen injured her ankle before the seventh inning. That forced Brooklyn Barnett to shift from second base into the pitcher’s circle without much of a warmup, and Fergus Falls took advantage.

The Spartans entered the seventh inning with a 6-4 lead after scoring two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings. Eight players reached in the inning and Sydney Ismande, Lindsey Dierks, Megan Riedel, Lydia Klemetson, Sam Lupkes, Haley Poehler and Amber Boese all scored.

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Ihnen helped herself out in the bottom of the first, driving in Emily Haubrich from second with a single to tie the game 1-1. In the second inning, Nichole Rowe scored from second on an error on an Ihnen grounder to third to tie the game 2-2. And West added two more in the fourth when Rowe drove in Rebecca Siorgen and Taylor Noid with a flair single to right field.

Ismande went 3-for-5 with 5 RBIs for MState in Game 1, and Poehler went 1-for-2, scored four times, drove in a run, walked twice and reached on an error.

Emilly Haubrich was 2-for-4 with a double and scored twice for the Lady Jays in Game 1. Ihnen pitched six innings, allowing six runs on seven hits while striking out two.

Barnett bounced back well in Game 2 after struggling to close out Game 1, and had a solid defensive effort behind her. She allowed five runs, four earned on eight hits with two strikeouts.

“(Brooklyn) came in cold (at the end of Game 1) and she was expecting more time to warm up between the first and second games,” Linder said. “She had to get herself ready to pitch right away, it just takes time to get ready. She got us through that game, had time to regroup and came back with a strong second game.”

Haubrich made several tremendous plays at third base, including getting all three outs to get MW out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning. She caught a liner off the bat of Tarryn Justesen and doubled up Allyson Jensen before she could get back to third. She then got Nicole Anderson out by fielding a grounder.

“Defensively, we’ve been solid,” Linder said. “The girls have been where they need to be.”

The Spartans broke out of a 2-2 tie with three runs in the sixth inning. Anderson gave them a 3-2 lead, scoring from third as Ismande reached on an error with the bases loaded. Jensen then followed that up with a single up the middle to plate Doranna Blasyck and Boese.

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Barnett scored from third on a wild pitch to give the Lady Jays a 1-0 lead in the first, and Taylor Haugen drove in Haubrich with a grounder up the middle to give them a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

Barnett was 2-for-4 in the game with a run, and pitched all seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and struck out two.

Justesen won both games for Fergus Falls.

MState-Fergus Falls 101 022 7 -- 13 9 5Minnesota West 101 200 1 -- 5 8 4---MState-Fergus Falls 001 013 0 -- 5 8 2Minnesota West 100 100 0 -- 2 6 1

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Emily Haubrich of Minnesota West, playing third base, catches a pop-up in Friday's college softball game with MN State-Fergus Falls. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

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