The Delta State University Lady Statesmen concluded a 2-2 performance in the Harding University Softball Tournament this past weekend in Searcy, Ark.
The Lady Statesmen defeated Midwestern State University 5-0 and Northeastern State University 2-1 Saturday but lost to Drury 4-0 and Harding 9-1 Sunday.
DSU pushed its record to 3-5.
Delta State’s biggest highlight came from junior pitcher Olivia Burns. In Saturday’s two wins, Burns combined tossed two complete games as she gave up one run on 11 hits with eight strikeouts and four walks in 14 innings of work on the day. Burns had one bad outing against Harding as she gave up four runs on two hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of work. On the weekend, she went 2-1 in the circle.
“We went over to Searcy last weekend, and it was another good opportunity to get our team on the field,” Delta State head softball coach Casey Charles said. “I thought we had a good opening day on Saturday. We threw Olivia Burns. We felt like after one week, she was our number one. We swung the bats pretty good (against Midwestern State) and won that game 5-0. We decided to go back with Olivia Burns in game two. She’s one of those that gets better as she gets going. She only threw 70 pitches in the first game, and we made the decision to go with her again. She won a 2-1 ball game against Northeastern State. It was great to get two wins. The girls were feeling better, working better and working on some things.”
Charles felt Sunday just wasn’t her team’s day.
“I thought Drury was a team we could handle,” Charles said. “They held us to two hits, and they scored four runs. We gave that game to Jenny Griggers, a freshman. That was her first start. She gave up five or six hits and went down 2-0 before you could even blink and that’s tough. That’s not what she tried to do. It was just location problems; pressure problems and young freshman problems. Those are things she is going to work through and then we lost to Harding. There are a lot of things to work on. There were improvements in parts, but still have a lot to work on as we get ready for conference (play).”
DSU will open its Gulf South Conference schedule Saturday against the University of Alabama in Huntsville in a doubleheader to start a three-game series in Huntsville. Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. The series will conclude Sunday with a single game at 12 p.m.
From a pitching standpoint, Burns has thrown the most innings by far on the team with 31 innings this season. Nobody else on the staff has thrown more than 11 innings.
Charles said she would like to see what the other pitchers can do a little bit more heading into the conference portion of the schedule.
“You almost wish you had another extra week (to prepare for conference play),” Charles said. “I want to see more of Jenny. I want to see more of Mari Alex Sandridge. I know what she’s done for three years, but I don’t know what she’s going to do yet this year. I’m anxious to see that. Another pitcher that’s been really good for us in relief is senior Emily Baker. She had some ups and downs last year, but she was really good the last two weeks.”