USF softball team gives coach 100th win on heroics of pitcher/slugger Kait Van Der Zwaag

Former SDSU assistant Shannon Pivovar earns 100th win as Cougars coach in split with Augustana

The USF softball team defeated Augustana 2-0 in Game 2 of their NSIC double header on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Bowden Field in Sioux Falls.
Matt Zimmer/Forum News Service

SIOUX FALLS — USF gave softball coach Shannon Pivovar the 100th win of her career on Tuesday as the Cougars took the second game of an NSIC doubleheader against rival Augustana at the Vikings' Bowden Field.

Though the games were played at Augie they were USF's home games. The Vikings won the first game 9-1 and the Cougars won game two 2-0 on a one-hit shutout and game-winning home run by Kait Van Der Zwaag.

The Vikings had the bats working in the opener, scoring two runs each in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh frames. Ashton Dorman had two hits and a homer while Andrea Cain had three hits and three RBIs and Gracey Brink, Abby Lien and Liz Dierks each had two hits. Torri Chute had a two-run double in the third inning to start the scoring for the Vikings.

That offense made a winner of pitcher Hailey Houston, who improved to 12-2 on the season by whiffing seven Cougars in a complete game in the circle.

USF catcher Damaris Cuevas (left) and teammate Allie McCabe celebrate the Cougars' Game 2 win over Augustana in an NSIC softball double header on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Bowden Field in Sioux Falls.

In the nightcap it was Van Der Zwaag carrying the Cougars to the rivalry win. The teams remained scoreless into the sixth in an entertaining pitchers duel between Van Der Zwaag and Augustana's Lexi Lander, before Van Der Zwaag helped her own cause. She broke the deadlock with a two-run home run down the right field line against a stiff wind to score herself and leadoff hitter Lexie Swift, who had walked, to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. That was all Van Der Zwaag needed in the circle, as she set the Vikings down in order in the top of the seventh on three consecutive groundouts to shortstop Rylie Jones, who calmly handled all three to end it.


Augustana's Andrea Cain is called out stealing as USF shortstop Rylie Jones applies the tag during their NSIC game on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Bowden Field in Sioux Falls.
Matt Zimmer/Forum News Service

Van Der Zwaag improved to 10-5 in the circle on the year, allowing just one hit and striking out one, working around four walks and two hit batters. Lander allowed two runs on three hits in six innings to take a tough-luck loss for Augie.

Augustana pitcher Lexi Lander delivers in Game 2 of an NSIC double header against USF on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Bowden Field in Sioux Falls.
Matt Zimmer/Forum News Service

The Vikings are 22-11 and 9-3 in NSIC play following the split, while the Cougars record sits at 15-16 and 6-6 in league play.

USF announced Tuesday they will play the remainder of their home games at the new Sanford Diamonds fields on the campus of the Sanford Sports Complex near the Pentagon and Great Shots Golf.

Matt Zimmer is a Sioux Falls native and longtime sports writer. He graduated from Washington High School where he played football, legion baseball and developed his lifelong love of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, he returned to Sioux Falls, and began a long career in amateur baseball and sports reporting. Email Matt at
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