(University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA - The Montana softball team swept a twin bill from Providence on Sunday at Grizzly Softball Field in Missoula, winning 14-0 and 23-0.
Senior Michaela Hood got the start for Montana in Game 1 and threw a complete-game shutout. Junior Tristin Achenbach did the same in Game 2, striking out 15 over seven innings.
“Fall usually isn’t a time for pitchers to be throwing seven-inning games, but we wanted to give them some time to settle in on the mound,” said coach Melanie Meuchel.
“Both of them threw well. We had a lot of at-bats when we attacked the zone early and for the most part we controlled the counts on the day.”
Montana scored in every inning in Game 1, putting up a five spot in both the second and third innings.
The Grizzlies rolled that into Game 2 and scored nine runs in the first. They added five runs in the third, seven in the fourth.
Montana was kept off the scoreboard in just one inning across the doubleheader.
“We’re becoming more of an offensive team that will work as a full lineup instead of waiting for one or two players who can really drive in runs,” said Meuchel.
“We talked about it a lot last year and have really taken ownership of it this year, of trying to find a way to be on base, then being able to move them in different situations. Everybody is stepping into that role.”
Montana’s 37 runs against Providence -- the Grizzlies plated 31 in a doubleheader sweep of Carroll two weeks ago as the fall season got underway -- came not so much through power as they did through balls that were driven consistently and relentlessly.
All those runs were scored despite just a pair of home runs, one coming from Morgan Johnson, another from Kylie Becker, who batted leadoff and scored seven runs.
“The frustrating part for an opposing team is usually when you have scores like that, there are a lot of home runs involved, and that wasn’t the case,” said Meuchel.
“It was a lot of back-to-back hits or multiple hits in a row. We never really stopped on offense.”
Montana will close out its fall exhibition season next weekend at Grizzly Softball Field, hosting Columbia Basin in a doubleheader on Saturday at 11 a.m., North Idaho in a doubleheader on Sunday at 11 a.m.