Southwestern won three of four games against two league opponents in home doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.
The Spartans improved to 6-6 in the conference and 13-9 overall after a doubleheader sweep Sunday over Ellsworth, 6-0 and 4-1. The Spartans split with NIACC on Saturday, winning 5-1 before dropping a 5-3 contest in eight innings.
The weekend action was on the heels of a nonconference split at Central Nebraska Thursday, losing 8-2 and winning 12-4 in five innings at Columbus, Neb.
Sophomore Leah Kipfer is on a roll in the pitching circle for the Spartans. She pitched a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts Sunday against Ellsworth, facing only 24 batters in seven innings.
Right fielder Tessa Otto of Murray sparked the offense with two hits including a triple and two RBI. Hannah Sneed crushed a three-run homer in the fifth inning to break open the game.
Ashley Brandt, the conference’s leading hitter entering the weekend at .561, was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Courtney Wagner pitched for Southwestern in the 4-1 victory over Ellsworth. She scattered six hits with seven strikeouts and three walks. Brandt was 3-4 with a double and Otto and Brooke Wolf each had two hits.
Ellsworth fell to 0-7 in the league and 3-9 overall.
On a wind-swept SWCC field Saturday, Kipfer was the star in the circle and at the plate. She pitched a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts, facing only 26 batters, and went 3-4 hitting with two RBI. Carla Smith of Creston banged two hits with an RBI for the Spartans and Danyielle Barger had three hits.
NIACC won the second game, breaking a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth. A walk, bunt hit and sacrifice put the runners in scoring position. NIACC pushed the runs across on a ground ball between third and short, and a Spartan error.
“In our half of the eighth we got bases loaded and then went down one-two-three,” said Spartan assistant Todd Verwers.
Wagner pitched out of jams all day, facing 38 batters in yielding nine hits, three earned runs with three walks and 10 strikeouts in eight innings.
At the plate, Brandt was 2-4 with a run and RBI. Dominique Tolle was 2-3 with two RBI and Kipfer had two hits against NIACC, now 1-5 in the league and 6-8 overall.
At 6-6, Southwestern is battling Marshalltown (4-4) for third place in the league behind nationally-ranked DMACC and Kirkwood, both 12-0 in conference play. Southwestern visits Marshalltown on Wednesday.