The Missouri S&T softball team (2-3) opened their season with a very busy weekend down in Arkadelphia, Ark. at the Ronnie Hawkins Tournament. The Lady Miners had doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2-3, before playing their fifth game on Sunday, Feb. 4. S&T split both of the doubleheaders, before falling to Henderson State 1-0 on Sunday.
The Lady Miners kicked off the season against Northeastern State for the first game of their doubleheader on Friday. S&T fell into a quick 3-0 hole, before getting on the board in the bottom of the third. Carley Hamman knocked in Rachel Aiardo and Monica Weiss in the inning to cut the gap to 3-2. Unfortunately, the offense dried up after that in a 3-2 loss. Kati Viets took the loss in the circle, allowing three runs on seven hits over five innings.
S&T bounced back against Ouachita Baptist on Friday. Sophomore Avery English pitched a gem for the Lady Miners with a two hitter to lead S&T to victory. OBU scored their lone run of the game in the second inning, scoring on a groundout, but the Lady Miners got their bats going in the fourth. Weiss jumpstarted the offense with a single and a steal, before Gretchen Egly knocked her in with a two-out single. Egly tied the game in the fourth, but she won the game in the sixth. After base knocks from Courtney Jackson and Weiss, Egly smacked a three run shot to put the Lady Miners out in front 4-1. English finished things off on the mound to finish off the victory for S&T. English struck out two and walked two, while allowing just two hits in a complete game win.
The Lady Miners flipped the script on Saturday, winning their first game of the day and falling in the second. S&T opened the day against Lincoln with Viets towing the rubber. S&T's offense was unstoppable against Lincoln, scoring in each of the first four innings before winning by mercy rule. Hamman was a machine for S&T, knocking in six runs while going a perfect 3-3 with three runs scored. Egly hit her second home run of the season in the fourth, as the Lady Miners cruised to a 14-1 win. Viets pitched four shutout innings and allowed five hits with four strikeouts, before Jackson was brought in to close things out in the fifth. Jackson allowed one run on one hit with three walks.
S&T didn't have the same luck in their second game on Saturday against Rogers State. Rogers State scored the first seven runs of the game on their way to a dominant 15-2 win. English allowed 13 runs, all of which were earned, in five and a third innings on 16 hits. She struck out four, walked three and hit two batters in the loss. Viets came in to finish the sixth, allowing two unearned runs on three hits. Olivia Young and Hannah Smith each drove in runs.
The Lady Miners capped off the weekend with a pitcher's dual against Henderson State that needed extra innings to decide a winner. English manned the circle for the third time over the weekend and pitched masterfully for S&T. Neither team could push a run across in the first seven innings of play, so they went to extra innings. The Lady Miners had a chance to score in the top of the inning, as teams start with a runner on second base, but they couldn't find the hit they needed. Henderson State had better luck in the bottom of the frame, as a squeeze bunt by Alexis Morton with one out brought home Bethany Allen to give the Reddies a walk-off 1-0 win. English pitched a fantastic game, but was charged with the loss after allowing one unearned run on three hits in seven and a third innings. She walked two batters and hit one, while striking out five.
After a busy weekend, S&T won't hit the diamond for a couple of weeks. They'll host Lincoln for a doubleheader and their first home games of the season on Tuesday, Jan. 13.