PUEBLO, Colo. – In her first career start for the Grizzlies, junior pitcher Brandi Lovato (West Valley City, Utah) allowed just six hits while striking out five, and went the distance for a complete-game win over 13th-ranked Minnesota State in ASC’s 2012 season opener at the NSIC/RMAC Crossver hosted by Colorado State-Pueblo.
Lovato and the Grizzlies are now 1-0 on the year and drop the Mavericks to 0-1 in the early going. For ASC, the loss avenged an 8-0 loss in five innings against Minnesota State from last season’s crossover between the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) in Rochester, Minn.
Adams State was first on the board, putting two across in the second inning. A one-out walk from junior DJ Consonero (Pueblo West, Colo.) was followed by a single off the bat of senior Lizzy Schossow (Fort Morgan, Colo.) before Lovato was hit by a pitch to lead the bases. That set the stage for an RBI single to right from junior Katelyn Lovato (Northglenn, Colo.) to drive in Consonero for the first run of the season.
After the Mavericks recorded the second out of the inning, junior Brittani Richins (Tremonton, Utah) drew a walk to bring in the second and final run of the inning as the ASC left three on base.
Brandi Lovato, who walked five in the game, stranded Minnesota State runners on base in both the first and second innings, but didn’t allow a hit until third. To start the bottom of the third, Brandi Lovato walked the Mavericks’ Chrisitna Redd just before Lauryn Morris singled. A sac bunt put Morris and Redd at second and third, respectively. But the next two batters grounded out and lined out to the middle infield, keeping ASC on top, 2-0.
The Grizzlies again stranded three runners on base in the fourth inning without getting a run, and would leave 12 on in the game. However, after a quick fourth inning in which Brandi Lovato faced only four batters, the Grizzlies added another two runs.
Junior Jordan Schoepflin (Arvada, Colo.) banged out a double to start the Grizzlies half of the fifth, and moved up to third on a double from Consonero. Schossow then reached on a fielder’s choice that also allowed Consonero to advance safely and Adams State had the bases loaded with no outs.
Brandi Lovato then helped her own cause, getting hit by a pitch for the third time to bring Schoepflin in for a 3-0 lead.
Two batters later, with one out and bases still full, freshman Erika Ecsedy came to the plate to pinch-hit, and poked the ball through the right side of the infield. Her hit drove in Schossow, but Brandi Lovato was thrown out at the plate. Richins popped out to end the fifth, but not before ASC’s lead was up to 4-0.
Minnesota State got on the board in its half of the fifth. Redd singled with one out and Morris followed her with a walk, but an end to the inning seemed near after Brandi Lovato struck Chloe Minkel out looking. But another walk, followed by a Grizzly error brought in a run before a fly out to left ended the inning.
Whatever momentum the Mavericks seemed to be gaining was quickly hampered as ASC senior Rebecca Lindquist (Fort Collins, Colo.) and freshman Erica Haugum (Arvada, Colo.) hit back-to-back home runs to start the sixth. Consonero would rip a double to right center in the inning to record the first multi-hit game of her career with two, but would get stranded on second.
Two consecutive singles started the sixth for Mavericks, and would lead to a pair of runs, but the damage was controlled and Grizzlies entered the final inning against the 13th-ranked Mavericks ahead by three.
Adams State was unable to get anything going in its final at-bat, but Brandi Lovato took the mound to close out her game and got three straight fly outs to end the game.
Katelyn Lovato, Richins, Haugum and Consonero each had two hits as the Grizzlies outhit Minnesota State 12-6 Friday. Adams State’s six runs were each driven in by a different player, and Schossow was the only player to score more than once.
The Grizzlies will be back in action against a pair of NSIC squads Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. with Winona State (Minn.) before a 2 p.m. affair with Concordia-St. Paul. ASC’s afternoon match-up with the Golden Bears can be followed by checking out live stats, and updates on all the weekend’s action from Pueblo can be found by visiting the NSIC/RMAC Crossover Central web page.