VCSU Softball Extends Winning Streak

TR Staff
Staff Writer

Special to Times-Record
MINOT, N.D. – It's safe to say the Valley City State softball team is on a roll.
The Vikings extended their winning streak to 12 games this weekend after sweeping four contests against NCAA Division II schools at the Minot State Dome Tournament.
VCSU opened the tournament Saturday with a 7-0 win over University of Mary and a 12-5 victory against MSU-Moorhead. On Sunday, VCSU picked up an 8-0 win against University of Minnesota-Crookston, and then defeated Minot State by a score of 10-6 for their 12th straight victory.
VCSU's 12-0 start is the best in program history. The Vikings are allowing less than two runs per game and have outscored their opponents 91-21 so far this season.
Pitchers Emily Smith and Emilee Wilson have been lights-out in the circle. Smith has totaled a 9-0 record with a 0.74 ERA in 47 innings pitched. She has struck out 71 batters and leads the nation in both wins and total strikeouts. Wilson also has a 0.74 ERA with three wins in 28.1 innings pitched. The Viking defense has sparkled with a .990 fielding percentage, committing just three errors in 307 chances this season.
The Vikings were ranked No. 25 in the NAIA Top 25 Preseason Poll released in January. A new Top 25 poll is not due out until March 12, which is during VCSU's spring break trip to Tucson, Ariz.
Up next: Valley City State has some time off before traveling to Tucson, Ariz., for 13 games from March 7-13. They will be the first outdoor games of the season for the Vikings.
SUNDAY: VCSU 8, Minnesota-Crookston 0
The Vikings scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning and then erupted for six runs in the fifth inning, ending the game early by mercy rule.
Valley City State totaled 10 hits in the game, including a double and a triple by Joelle Aiello. Voni Culp and Aiello each finished with two hits and two runs, and six other Vikings each had one hit. Tatum Lundin drove in two runs.
Emily Smith pitched a complete-game shutout, giving up just two hits while striking out eight batters.
SUNDAY: VCSU 10, Minot State 6
Valley City State built a 10-0 lead before Minot State scored six runs late, but the Vikings hung on to complete the weekend sweep.
The Vikings totaled 13 hits in the game and did not commit an error. VCSU put up two runs in the third inning, three in the fourth, and then two more in the sixth to take a 7-0 lead. Nichole Reed then smashed a pinch-hit three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to make it 10-0. Minot State would rally for six runs in the bottom of the seventh before VCSU worked out of the threat.
Joelle Aiello was 2-for-4 with a run and RBI. Renee Snyder batted 2-for-3 with a pair of RBis, and Jayme Menard totaled two hits and two runs. Reed's three-run home run highlighted six other Vikings with one hit each.
Emily Smith picked up the win after starting in the circle and pitching 4 2/3 shutout innings. Smith allowed four hits and struck out four.
SATURDAY: VCSU 7, University of Mary 0
The Vikings opened the weekend in Minot with a 7-0 shutout victory against the University of Mary on Saturday morning. RBI hits from Marissa Hawkins, Kadie Anderson and Tatum Lundinscored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie. The Vikings added three more runs in the fifth and and tacked on an insurance run in the seventh inning.
VCSU finished with nine hits. Riley Perryman was 2-for-4 with a run and RBI, and Autumn Pery went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run and two RBIs.
Pitchers Emily Smith and Emilee Wilson combined for the shutout victory. Smith started and earned the win after going 4 1/3 innings. The junior right-hander gave up just two hits and struck out 10. Wilson pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit while striking out seven of the 10 batters she faced.
SATURDAY: VCSU 12, MSU-Moorhead 5
The Vikings trailed 1-0 after the top of the first inning, but poured on the offense as they battled to a 12-5 victory against Moorhead. The Vikings put up five runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 5-1 lead.
Moorhead rallied back with four runs in the top of the second inning, tying the game at 5-5. VCSU took the lead for good on Riley Perryman's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second, and then broke the game open with five more runs in the third inning.
Marissa Hawkins led the Viking offense with a 3-for-3 game, scoring two runs and driving in three. Autumn Perry went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Tatum Lundin doubled and drove in two runs, and Voni Culp went 2-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI.
Emilee Wilson picked up the win after pitching the final six innings. Wilson came on in relief of Emily Smith in the top of the second inning. Wilson gave up four hits and two unearned runs in her six innings of work. She walked only one and struck out three.