Coming into Saturday afternoon's twinbill, No. 21-ranked Washburn University softball had won 26 straight games on its home turf at Gahnstrom Field dating back to last year.

JayceeGinterQuincyAll-America pitcher Jaycee Ginter went all innings to pick up a 3-2 win over Oklahoma Baptist on Saturday in an ESU Classic game at Gahnstrom Field. [File photo/TSN]

However, while Washburn was able to secure a 3-2 extra-inning win against Oklahoma Baptist, Minnesota State-Mankato would snap the Ichabods' 27-game streak with a 5-0 win in the Ichabods' second game in the ESU Classic.

While Emporia State University hosts the ESU Classic, many of this weekend's games will be held at Washburn due to unplayable fields in Emporia.

Washburn (8-3) started the day on the right track with a 3-2 extra-inning win over Oklahoma Baptist. The Ichabods have never lost against the Bison in the four meetings between the two schools.

"It was a big win for us; OBU is a really good team," Washburn coach Brenda Holaday said. "We're not hitting the ball right now, so any win is big because we are really having to scratch and claw for everything we get. It ended up being a really big win for us because it would've been frustrating to go zero for two on the day. So to come away one and one is worth something."

Returning All-American Jaycee Ginter, a former Shawnee Heights star, started in the circle for Washburn in game one. Ginter earned the win, pitching eight innings, giving up two earned runs with three walks while striking out 11 Oklahoma Baptist batters.

"Jaycee does such a good job of holding the other teams down and giving us a chance," Holaday said. "I don't think it was her best pitching performance by any means, but given the conditions out here and the adaptations she had to make in the strike zone, I thought she did a good job."

Two out of three of Washburn's runs came in the second inning. In the second inning.

Autymn Schreiner drove in All-American Marrit Mead on a triple that blasted to right field for the game's opening score.

Directly after Schreiner's one-run triple, Jaden LaBarge doubled to centerfield, bringing in Schreiner and giving Washburn a 2-0 lead.

Oklahoma Baptist tied the game with two runs in the top of the seventh inning. A run-scoring double from Morgan Max and a one-run single from Kennedy Clark gave the Bison a momentum boost and a chance to knock off Washburn.

The Bison brought in their biggest defensive weapon in the circle for the bottom of the eighth. Kayleigh Jones, who was named Great American Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week for a second consecutive week, had come into Saturday's contest with an unblemished 7-0 record without allowing a single earned run this season.

Paige Robbins laid down a bunt with Kimi Patterson on second base. Oklahoma Baptist third baseman Ally Ryan threw it above the head of Kennedy Clark, and Patterson was able to get home to give the Ichabods the win.

"I thought the key for us was Paige laying down a good bunt for us," Holaday said. "(Jones) is tough to bunt off; she's just tough all the way around. That (bunt) would've given us a runner at third, even without the bad throw, with a couple of outs to play with in the middle of our lineup. So I would've felt like we were in good shape, but it was just nice to end it right there."

Jones (7-1) suffered her first loss of the year, while Ginter (6-1) recorded her sixth win of the season.

Washburn's second game against Minnesota State didn't go as planned. The Ichabods didn't have as clean of a performance in the final game as they did in the first game.

In the 5-0 loss to the Mavericks, Washburn went 6-28 at the plate without any walks and left eight runners stranded.

Washburn was just unlucky at times. Washburn, which only struck out twice, made solid contact with the ball but couldn't find any sizeable gaps to get runners on base.

"When you're facing Minnesota State, there is nothing easy about that," Holaday said. "They are a storied program for a reason. We scattered some hits, but we just couldn't put it together against them. We got the hits, but we couldn't find anything there."

Washburn freshman Sadie Walker got the start against Minnesota State. The Holton product pitched two innings giving up one earned run out of the four runs on her line on four hits while striking out a pair of batters.

"We tried to work (Walker) in, who we have a lot of faith in and who we feel will be really good in this program," Holaday said. "We could've come back and thrown Ginter in the second game, but she threw nearly 150 pitches in the first game. It was a good time to get some of our other pitchers out there and put some pressure on them."

Minnesota State's offense picked up four runs in the first three innings.

Out of the four runs Washburn gave up, only one run was earned. The Ichabods gave up five walks and had two errors on defense.

Throughout the game, Washburn had minimum opportunities to plate in runs, and those four Minnesota State runs, excluding another run tacked on by a Sydney Nielsen solo home run, were good enough for the Mavericks to leave with the 5-0 victory.

“We are looking for our kids to take that next step,” Holaday said. “Two things are happening to us right now; we are striking out way more than we typically strike out, and we are making uncharacteristic errors. Those two things are coming back to bite us. We’ve got to get this cleaned up. And I think for us this weekend, we have to keep it small.

“We need to just move the runner and not try to play hero ball and do the big things all the time. It’s looking like our swings are really big when we just need to drive people in, and that’s not working out for us. So we need some plate discipline. Hitting is a psychological thing. If you’re at the plate and mentally struggling, the game gets a lot harder. So we have to try and free our kids' minds a little bit.”

No. 21 Washburn will be back at Gahnstrom Field on Sunday for the second day of the ESU Classic. The Ichabods will start the day against Concordia University, St. Paul, at 2:30. After that, Washburn will finish its second day of the ESU Classic against Winona State University.

Washburn will have one more ESU Classic matchup on Monday at 2:30 when the Ichabods take on Quincy University.


Washburn (8-2)               020 000 0 1 – 3 6 0

 Oklahoma Baptist (9-1) 000 000 2 0 – 2 8 1

WP: Ginter (6-1). LP: Jones (7-1). 2B – Washburn: Mead, LaBarge, Wagner. Oklahoma Baptist: Max, Clark.  3B – Washburn: Schreiner. HR: none.



Minnesota State-Mankato (4-2)  103 000 0 – 5 8 1

Washburn (8-3)                            000 000 0 – 0 6 3

WP: Armbruster (4-0). LP: Walker (1-2). 2B – Minnesota State - Mankato: Newman. Washburn: Ginter. 3B: none. HR: Minnesota State - Mankato: Nielsen.