In another strong home showing in conference play, Missouri Western softball went 3-1 over the weekend, sweeping Fort Hays State and splitting with Nebraska-Kearney.

Western started off the weekend by taking on the Tigers of Fort Hays State University. In game one, after failing to move anyone across the first inning, Western proceeded to score in every inning as they cruised to a 7-2 victory. In the circle, sophomore Kenzie Hilzer went the distance as she held Fort Hays State to one earned run over seven innings pitched, striking out three.

Offensively, Western’s bats were on fire throughout the game, crushing 11 hits and two homeruns. Junior Gabi Carter stepped up huge for Western, going 3-3 at the plate with an RBI. Sophomore Markee Brown added a 2-2 day herself, also driving in a run.

While game one was more reliant upon the bats to pull out the victory, game two was a good old-fashioned pitchers duel, with Western coming out on top 1-0. Freshman Kaili Hinds was dominant on the mound for Western, tossing her second complete game shutout of the season. Hinds was masterful in this one, not allowing a single walk while giving up just six hits.

“I think we are doing well keeping the other teams from scoring too much and we are doing well only allowing very few hits in the games,” Hinds said.

On Friday, Western’s five-game win streak was snapped by the Lopers of the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Kearney came out strong, jumping out to a three-run first inning, en route to a  4-0 victory over Western. The Griffons then, as they have all year, showed great fight in their ability to bounce back and win games after tough losses.

Western, led by Hinds’ fourth straight shutout in the circle, provided timely hitting and strong defense behind Hinds to earn a hard-fought 3-0 victory. Juniors Morgan Frost and Shelby Uhl went a combined 6-7 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

“We were patient in the box and were able to capitalize on good pitches which is the approach we need to continue to have moving forward,” Uhl said.

When asked about how far her team has come this season, coach Jen Bagley Trotter thought back to the beginning of the season.

“I have been thinking about how incredibly different it feels standing over at third base now, in April, than it did in February,” Trotter said. “It’s more fun. This is a more fun team to coach, and it’s been fun to see different people step up and have big games. I’m really proud of how this team worked hard to get to where we are right now.”

Western currently sits in fifth-place in the MIAA. They will take on Pitt State in a Tuesday doubleheader scheduled for 4 p.m.


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