SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Led by Kaitlyn Van Der Zwaag’s home run and complete game in the circle plus a homer from Cassie Van Beek, the University of Sioux Falls Softball Team (20-19, 14-11 NSIC) won game one, 8-4, over St. Cloud State (23-13, 12-10 NSIC) to earn a split in the NSIC doubleheader on Senior Day at Sherman Park. SCSU won game two, 4-0.
With the DH split, USF is now eighth in the NSIC with a 14-11 mark and sit 20-19 overall. With the victory today, USF has recorded 20 wins in six straight years when not counting the pandemic-shortened 2020 season when USF was 11-8.
USF, which will face Concordia St. Paul on May 8 and Minnesota State on May 9 in NSIC road doubleheaders next weekend to conclude the regular season, has won eight of its last 12 games.
Prior to the NSIC doubleheader with SCSU today, the USF Softball Program and Head Coach Shannon Pivovar honored its six seniors, who have made an impact on the program, during a Senior Day ceremony. USF also recognized the five SCSU seniors during the ceremony.
A standout at third base, Cassie Van Beek is a .257 career hitter, and has four home runs – six in her career – and 19 runs driven in this season. She is a perfect 13-13 in stolen bases in her career while playing 123 games with 70 starts. The daughter of Colleen and Al Van Beek, Cassie is an elementary education major. Twice, she has earned All-NSIC Academic honors, been named to the Easton-NFCA All-American Scholar Team and earned the Myles Brand Award for Academic Achievement. Like Uitts, Van Beek has helped USF to 87 wins during her career.
Game 1 – Sioux Falls 8 St. Cloud State 4
In the opener of the DH, Kaitlyn Van Der Zwaag threw a complete game and hit a three-run home run and Cassie Van Beek also homered with two RBI as USF won, 8-4.
The Cougars jumped to a 4-1 lead and with a four-run five inning took an 8-1 lead.
Van Der Zwaag (11-8) earned her team-leading 11th win by allowed four runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and did not walk a hitter in throwing 62 pitches, including 40 strikes.
USF’s offense was led by Van Der Zwaag who hit her team-leading fifth home run. Kylan Straight added two hits, a run scored and RBI while Kennedy Thomas had two hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Senior shortstop Mika Rodriguez supplied two hits and a run scored while catcher Damaris Cuevas had a hit and RBI. Infielder Cassie Van Beek hit her fourth home run of the season and had two RBI while both Shayla Running and Frankie Mickelson had hits in USF’s 11-hit attack.
USF opened the scoring in the second inning when Van Beek hit a home run over the center field fence. In the USF third inning, Mickelson doubled and scored on Straight’s run-scoring double. After a groundout which advanced Straight to third, Thomas doubled to plate Straight. Then, Rodriguez reached on a single through the left side. Thomas scored on a fielder’ choice RBI ground out by Van Beek as USF took a 4-1 lead.
USF added four runs on four hits in the fifth inning. With one out, Thomas singled to right field and Rodriguez had a single to left center. With two out, Cuevas hit a run-scoring single up the middle. That hit was followed by a three-run home run over the left field fence by Van Der Zwaag as the Cougars took an 8-1 lead.
Game 2 – SCSU 4 Sioux Falls 0
Trinity Junker threw a four-hit complete game for SCSU to help the Huskies salvage a split of the doubleheader against USF. Junker had five strikeouts and walked three batters in throwing 112 pitches.
The Huskies scored twice in the first inning and added two more in the fifth frame on a home run by Megan Conrads.
USF’s offense was led by hits from Van Der Zwaag, who doubled, and Straight, Running and Mickelson who all had singles.
Hanna Cress (9-10) took the loss for USF as she allowed seven hits and four runs across seven innings. Cress, who threw 68 pitches, had two strikeouts and a walk.