MISSOULA — Maddy Stensby came about as close to perfection as a pitcher can get Saturday afternoon.
Montana’s freshman southpaw from Olympia, Washington, finished one walk away from a perfect game, settling for the program’s first no-hitter in an 8-0 win over Portland State at Grizzly Softball Field.
The Griz won the second game of the doubleheader 5-3 to improve to 6-5 in the Big Sky, 17-23 overall. The Vikings fell to 5-6, 11-24.
Candice Orozco worked a leadoff walk in the second inning, the only base runner the Vikings managed in the opening game, which was shortened to five innings via the eight-run margin rule.
Stensby (3-8) finished with just two strikeouts, but her defense was flawless behind her.
“I was just feeling good today,” Stensby said. “I didn’t have a lot of strikeouts, it was a team effort. I didn’t even notice until the last inning that it was a no-hitter, but it felt like there was something special going on. Everyone was all in it, so I really feel like it was a team no-hitter.”
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Delene Colburn backed Stensby with a solo homer in the third inning, her fourth round-tripper of the season.
Montana’s offense struck for seven runs in the fifth to ensure the no-no. Lexi Brenneis had an RBI single in the uprising, Madison Saacke drove in another with a single, Mercedes Bourgeau worked a bases-loaded walk and Sydney Stites had an RBI single. The Griz also benefited from a two-run error and a wild pitch that plated a run.
“We are just a frenzy hitting team,” Griz coach Jamie Pinkerton said. “When they get on a roll, one hits after another and they keep the line moving. We sent a full allotment of batters in the inning and when you do that and get great pitching like we did, you are going to win a lot of ball games.”
The Griz needed a five-run rally in the bottom of the sixth to pull out the win in the nightcap.
Stensby started that game too, but lasted just 3 1/3 innings. She allowed five hits and two runs while striking out three. Sara Stephenson was tagged for four hits and a run in one inning of work, before Colleen Driscoll (1-0) came on to get the win by pitching 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief.
The Griz opened the sixth inning with five straight singles, the last two by Ashlyn Lyons and Tori Lettus plating runs. Kelsey Lucostic followed with a bases-load walk to knot the game at 3-3. MaKenna McGill and Stites followed with run-scoring ground outs to put Montana ahead for good.
“It’s cyclical, that stuff is going to come around,” Pinkerton said. “With the rotten luck that we had last week, this week we had balls drop that probably shouldn’t have, and that’s why you just have to stay the course.”
The same two teams will play a single game Sunday at 1 p.m. at Grizzly Softball Field.
Montana 8, Portland State 0
Portland St. 000 00 - 0 0 1
Montana 001 07 - 8 8 0
Karyn Wright, Kristen Crawford (5) and Alex Flores. Maddy Stensby and Lexie Brenneis. W—Stensby (3-8). L—Wright (3-7).
PORTLAND STATE—Shealee Lindsey 0-2, Shae Nelson 0-2, Kortney Craker 0-2, Candice Orozco 0-1, Brianna Celaya 0-2, Ashley Smith 0-2, Flores 0-2, Katherine Kramer 0-1, Melissa Masters 0-1.
MONTANA—MaKenna McGill 1-4, Sydney Stites 1-3, Brenneis 2-3, McKenzie Phillips 0-0, Delene Colburn 1-2, Bethany Olea 0-2, Madison Saacke 1-3, Katie Jo Waletzko 0-0, Ashlyn Lyons 0-2, Tori Lettus 2-2, Mercedes Bourgeau 0-1, Kelsey Lucostic 0-1.
2B—Brenneis, Lettus. HR—Colburn (4). RBIs—Stites, Brenneis, Colburn, Saacke, Bourgeau.
Montana 5, Portland State 3
Portland St. 000 210 0 0 3 9 0
Montana 000 005 x - 5 11 2
Stensby, Sara Stephenson (4), Colleen Driscoll (5) and Brenneis. Meagan Hendrix and Flores. W—Driscoll (1-0). L—Hendrix (3-6).
PORTLAND STATE—Lindsey 1-4, Nelson 2-4, Craker 0-4, Orozco 1-4, Celaya 1-3, Smith 2-3, Flores 0-2, Mariah Gonzalez 0-0, Kaela Morrow 0-3, Hendrix 2-3.
MONTANA—McGill 0-4, Stites 1-3, Brenneis 1-4, Colburn 1-3, Olea 3-3, Saacke 1-3, McKenzie Phillips 0-0, Madeline Merritt 0-0, Lyons 2-3, Lettus 2-3, Wardlow 0-1, Dani Walker 0-1, Kelsey Lucostic 0-0.
2B—Celaya, Smith. RBIs—Orozco, Smith, Hendrix McGill, Stites, Lyons, Lettus, Lucostic.