Major League Baseball teams begin traveling to Florida and Arizona in the coming weeks, rolling out fresh baseballs onto neatly manicured fields. While the snow has not melted yet in Fargo, the North Dakota State softball and baseball teams are beginning their 2018 schedules.
The softball team has already gotten their season started, having played five games this past Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Sportco Kick Off Classic. The Bison bookended a trio of losses in Sin City with a pair of wins over Southern Utah and Utah Valley.
Bre Beatty began the proceedings for NDSU in the first inning against the Thunderbirds. Returning to her hometown, the senior laced a single into left field to plate Katie Shoultz for the Bison’s first run of the season.
Southern Utah countered with two runs of their own in the second when Taylei Williams drove in a run with a single and later scored on a wild pitch from KK Leddy.
The Bison scored twice in the fourth inning to take a lead they would not relinquish. Montana DeCamp reached first on a throwing error on her bunt attempt, and Beatty raced around the bases to score. DeCamp stole second and was driven home by Maddie Hanson in the next at bat.
Beatty provided a two-out, two-run double in the following inning to bring the score to 5-2, and two RBI’s from Zoe Stavrou tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth.
Kendall Kapitzke’s two-run home run off of Leddy in the seventh was of no consequence, as Leddy finished off the game, striking out 13 batters in the contest.
NDSU dropped the next three games of the weekend, losing in nine innings to hosts UNLV, 3-2, in the second Friday matchup. Ace Jacquelyn Sertic was coasting through the Runnin’ Rebels’ lineup, allowing one run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly. Sertic too was making a return to her native Silver State.
The game went into extra innings, and in the top of the ninth, Shoultz sprinted home on a wild pitch to nudge the Bison in front, 2-1.
Having gone eight full innings without allowing a hit, Sertic and the Bison appeared poised to seal the victory. The senior was unable to get the final three outs in the bottom half of the inning, though.
With a runner placed on second base to begin the inning, Sertic got a quick out on a pop up, but intentionally walking Janine Petmecky in the following at bat came to haunt the Bison. Attempting to set up the game-ending double play failed as Justine Federe cleared the bases with a single in the gap.
Sertic struck out 15 batters against four walks and the lone base hit in 8.1 frames.
The Herd were shut out 4-0 against No. 16 Minnesota and fell to Creighton 7-4 on Saturday.
NDSU was involved in another low scoring affair Sunday afternoon, defeating Utah Valley by a score of 2-1 in nine innings. Sertic twirled another gem, pitching all nine innings and upping her strikeout total from the day before to 16.
Not to be outdone was her foe Addie Jensen, who toed the rubber for the Wildcats. Despite only striking out three batters, Jensen scattered only three hits in 8.1 innings of work.
The Wildcats opened up an advantage in the first frame of extra innings when Kaylee Bott scratched across a run. DeCamp followed up with a run scoring single of her own in the bottom half, tying the game at 1-1.
Tabby Heinz advanced Lauren Riemers, who was placed on second, and Stephanie Soriano brought her home with a double roped into right-center field.
The Bison will feature in the San Diego State Campbell/Cartier Classic this upcoming weekend and the Ole Miss Tournament the following weekend. The NDSU softball was pegged as the No. 1 team in the Summit League in the preseason poll.
On the men’s side of the diamond, Bison baseball begins its season with a four-game set at Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Preseason polls rated NDSU No. 3 in the conference following a 31-25 season.
NDSU’s baseball team will be led in 2018 by seven seniors, including lineup mainstays Logan Busch, Matt Elsenpeter, Drew Fearing and Mason Pierzchalski. Skipper Tod Brown returns for his 11th season at the helm.
Warmer days and outdoor games are on the horizon.