POCATELLO, Idaho -- Tristin Achenbach pitched the 26th complete game of her career on Sunday, helping the Montana softball team to a 4-2 victory and series sweep over Idaho State at Miller Ranch Stadium.
Achenbach, a Choteau native and Great Falls CMR graduate, picked up the win in all three games in the series and now has 31 for her career. That breaks the program record of 30 set by Michaela Hood (2017-20).
Achenbach got the win in Game 1 on Saturday but gave up 10 earned runs in five innings of work as Montana scored a program-record 19 runs in a 19-5 win over the Bengals. She threw 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief in Game 2 on Saturday as the Grizzlies rallied for an 8-7 win. She carried that into Sunday, allowing just five hits, all singles, as the Grizzlies won their fourth consecutive game and sixth in their past eight outings.
“She threw with some good command (Sunday),” UM softball coach Melanie Meuchel said in a media release. “She made them swing at things she wanted them to swing at and got some outs. I was really proud of her effort.”
Montana scored early and often on Sunday, going up 2-0 in the first on RBI singles by Cami Sellers and Jessica McAlister. Sellers’ RBI single scored Kylie Becker, who led off the game with a triple, the first three-bagger for Montana this season. The Grizzlies went up 4-0 in the top of the third when Riley Stockton, who got the start at catcher, hit a double into the gap in right-center that scored two.
Achenbach didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings and didn’t give up a run until the fourth. The Bengals added another in the sixth. Achenbach was aided by a defense that made a number of highlight-worthy plays, none more so than Julie Phelps’ diving catch of a line drive hit straight toward her in center, an incredibly difficult play to make.
Achenbach gave up two two-out singles in the bottom of the seventh, which brought the potential tying run to the plate, but she ended it with a line-drive out to Maygen McGrath at short.
Montana batted .425 for the series while striking out just six times in 106 at-bats. McGrath and Becker both had eight hits in three games. McGrath extended her hitting streak to 11 games.
Becker went 3-for-4 on Sunday. McGrath, Sellers, McAlister, Stockton and Anna Toon, who is 10 for her last 16, all had two hits. Both of Stockton’s hits on Sunday were doubles.
The Grizzlies, who opened league play with three wins at Portland State, picked up their second Big Sky Conference road sweep of the season.
“I’m really proud of the effort and the confidence that our players showed, really from Pitch 1,” said Meuchel. “We played hard and played with a lot of grit and toughness.
“I feel like for the last few weeks, every single person has worked very hard to put ourselves in the best situation possible to get wins.”
Montana (15-26 overall, 7-8 Big Sky)won’t play its next games until it hosts Weber State at Grizzly Softball Field on Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8.