In the News: 'Top Seeded Augustana Opens with Victory'

View live stats, scores and more information about the 2011 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Softball Tournament.

The following story appeared in the May 6 issue of the Argus Leader:

Top-seeded Augustana opens with victory
By Justin Wulf

After clinching the regular-season conference title, the top-seeded Augustana softball team opened its bid for a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament crown with a 5-0 shutout of Mary on Thursday at Bowden Field.

Jenny Brown was 3-for-4 and pitcher Ashley Meyer went the distance, fanning four and allowing seven hits in seven innings for the Vikings (42-7), who will face Minnesota State today at 10 a.m.

Although the outcome wasn't much different than the two regular-season meetings, which Augie won 9-0 and 7-0, Vikings coach Gretta Melsted said that the tournament atmosphere gave the Marauders a different look.

"They're definitely not the same team we saw earlier," Melsted said. "They've got a lot of speed and a lot of kids that just place the ball really well. I was really proud of Ashley Meyer for not letting that get to her, because sometimes those little (hits) frustrate you more than the big ones."

Meyer, who improved to 21-3, wasn't shy of giving credit where it was due.

"Our defense did a great job today," she said. "They got the (throws off quick), which is what you have to do because (Mary) is quick."

After Meyer pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the first inning, the Vikings struck in the bottom half of the second with frozen rope from Theresa McMahon that cleared the fence in left-center for a three-run homer.

Augustana tacked on two more runs in the third by way of a fielder's choice from Kelsey Kalkman and a Brittany Coufal sacrifice fly, while Mary (27-21, 10-12) continued to struggle to find timely hits with runners on base.

"Playing against the top-seeded team, we knew it was going to be a tough game, but I think the girls came a little more mentally and physically prepared (than the first two meetings)," said Mary coach Angelena Mexicano, whose team also left the bases loaded in the fifth.

"We had our speed working for us, we just needed to find a few more shots in the holes."

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations