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Cougars snap out of losing streak, win UMAC opener

The University of Minnesota, Morris softball team opened Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) play Monday with a win on the road at Presentation.

The Cougars racked up 16 runs to earn their first two wins of the season, 8-0 and 8-3. The first game was the Cougars' UMAC opener, while the second was counted as a nonconference contest. For the fourth straight year, the Cougars win their UMAC opener, snapping out of their 10-game season-opening losing skid to do so.

Morris took the first game in just five innings, scoring seven runs over the first three frames, while starter Mariah Essig allowed just five hits in shutting out Presentation for her first career win. Essig struck out six on the day.

Kelli Hamilton took the circle for the Cougars in the second game, also going the distance for her first win of the season. The Cougars' lone senior, Hamilton allowed just three runs on six hits, while striking out five. In helping her own cause, Hamilton went 2-for-5 at the plate, part of her team-high four hits on the day.

She was just one piece on an offense that was clicking on all cylinders all day, led by Jordan Iverson whose three hits included two homeruns and a triple on her way to team highs of four RBI and four runs scored. Iverson charted a long ball in each game, including the third of three for the Cougars in the third inning for game one, and a two-out dagger in the third inning of game two.

Also adding blasts were Mercedes Klimek, Molly Olson and Laura Lhotka, the first of the season for Olson and Lhotka, but the second for Klimek. The three all also finished with at least three hits on the day as well, pacing an offense that collected 19 total hits over the two games.