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Cougars fall in UMAC Tournament

UMM Sports Information

The Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Softball Championship Tournament was this Friday and Saturday, May 2-3 and the University of Minnesota, Morris was No. 2 seed, drawing No. 3 Northwestern in the opening round.

The Cougars went into the tournament under some special circumstances. This is the first season in school history that the softball team has won 20 games in a single season and went into tournament play on a nine-game winning streak.

There were quite a few individual accomplishments as well. The duo of Molly Olson and Sam Hanson are the only known duo in NCAA Division III to each have a hitting streak of 20-plus games. Olson has hit safely in 24 games, and Hanson has hit safely in 20 straight.

Hanson also found herself ranked highly in a few national stat categories. She ranks 21st in the NCAA with 1.24 RBI's per game. She is 37th in the nation with a .480 batting average. She is 40th in the country with a .810 slugging percentage and her .514 on-base percentage ranks 56th in the country.

Olson ranks 31st in the NCAA with an average of .44 doubles per game. She is also nationally ranked for having a .486 on-base percentage.

Speed has also been a big factor in for the Cougars success this season; both Gina Downie and Alex Anderson rank nationally in stolen bases per game. Downie is nearly averaging a run per game this year.

As a team the Cougars are hitting .334 at the plate, 58th in the country. They are 51st in scoring, averaging 6.43 runs per game.

Mackenzie Weatherly and Hanson provide a good 1-2 punch in the circle for UMM. Weatherly was the reigning UMAC Pitcher of the Week last week and looked to continue her solid work thru last weekend. Defensively, the Cougars have speed in the corner outfield spots, which helps provide aid for the pitching staff. They are also strong on the infield especially with Kristy Hoge at third and Olson behind the plate.

The Cougars seemed to have the advantage and got through Friday night against Northwestern, winning 4-3, but Saturday, they fell short to No. 1 seeded St. Scholastica in game one, then to No. 4 seeded Northland in game two.

UM-Morris 4, Northwestern 3

Minnesota Morris advanced to the winner's bracket with a 4-3 win over Northwestern in the UMAC Semifinals. A pair of two run homeruns, one by Hanson and one by Olson provided the Cougars with a four run cushion that they hung on to.

The Cougars struck in the bottom of the first. Downie led off the inning with a single to right field and moved to second on a scoring error. After a pair of outs, Hanson hit a ball over the fence in left on the first pitch of the at bat, giving UMM the 2-0 lead.

Weatherly worked well in the circle and did not give up a hit through six innings of work. She got some insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth when Olson homered to left field, driving in Meghan Pomeroy.

Northwestern broke up the no hitter with their leadoff batter in the seventh. A double followed putting runners on second and third. After a strikeout and a walk the Eagles had the bases loaded with one out. The shutout was over after a one out double and then an RBI ground out made it 4-3 with two outs and a runner on third. Weatherly picked up the complete game win after getting a two out popup to second, ending the rally and the game.

St. Scholastica 5, UM-Morris 3

Northland 8, UM-Morris 0

UMM had its season come to an end on Saturday, May 3 after dropping a pair of games in the UMAC Tournament. The day started with a tough 5-3 loss to No. 1 seeded St. Scholastica. They then lost 8-0 in six innings to fourth seeded Northland and were eliminated from the tournament.

Jordan Iverson put UMM ahead in the top of the first inning in game one, thanks to a single up the middle scoring Cassie Sowada. The lead disappeared in the third after the Saints hit a three run homer.

St. Scholastica added an insurance run in the fourth and fifth, which proved to be very important. Olson extended her hitting streak to 26 games in the top of the seventh, but more importantly drew the Cougars to within two after driving in Pomeroy and Mandy Allman.

Ultimately Morris did not complete the comeback, falling 5-3 after leaving a runner on first. Hanson's 21 game hitting streak came to an end in the first game of the day.

The Cougar bats were held in check in the elimination game, mustering just five hits in their 8-0 loss. Hanson and Iverson each had two hits in the game but they did not get much help from others in the lineup. Olson had her hitting streak ended in the final game of the season after a 0-3 game.

The Cougars finished the season with 21 wins, their most ever under coach Heather Pennie-Roy and most in school history dating back to 1986.

Brooke Kern

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