The teams didn’t show it, though.
Both played fundamentally sound defense and hit well, and they split their doubleheader Wednesday at Columbia College.
The Cougars, ranked No. 13 in the NAIA, won the first 4-2 and Truman State won 5-4 in the second.
The Bulldogs’ bats made the difference. Truman State (5-2) could only muster three hits in the first game. Its hitting improved in the second game with 12.
Truman State coach Lacey Schanz said steady hitting would come along with warmer weather.
“We just need to be consistent,” she said. “We haven’t practiced outside once yet, so every time we see dirt, we get a bit excited.”
In the first game, Truman State’s Breanna Wonderly pitched a no-hitter through the first five innings.
Columbia College (1-1) broke the bid for a no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning when sisters Anna and Amy Seipp hit consecutive singles. Krista Viefhaus followed with a double to center to score Anna Seipp. Two more runs scored on fielder’s choices and the Cougars finished the inning ahead 4-2.
Schanz didn’t blame Wonderly, though. “That was a defensive breakdown,” Schanz said. “She did her job. We had a breakdown communication wise. She threw balls that would have been outs had we talked a little bit more.”
In the second game, the Cougars led 4-3 at the start of the sixth inning.
The Bulldogs, a NCAA Division II team, stranded seven runners but didn’t give up. Stephanie Cepicky reached on a walk and Krystl Brown followed with a single to center.
Elizabeth Economon hit a line drive to right field, which scored Cepicky and scored the first Bulldog run since the first inning.
Leann Paul followed with a hit up the middle. Cougars second baseman Cindy Fotti had no play, which allowed Economon to score the winning run.
“Truman is a really good team and they are going to get on base,” Cougars coach Wendy Spratt said. “In the innings prior to that we did a good job of keeping them from scoring. They were just able to get the job done and we weren’t.”
Megan Kuntze had two hits and a walk for the Cougars, including a two-out triple to the right field gap.
She said the performance pleased her and she hopes it sets a standard for the rest of the year.
“First game of the season, I’m glad I started it out like that,” Kuntze said. “That makes the season go a little bit better.”
Spratt said she was was happy to see her team respond.
“We have confidence that we are going to come back and score runs and I think that will carry us a long way,” she said.