The North Dakota State softball team (29-13, 11-0 Summit League) took a pair of Summit League wins Saturday, beating the Western Illinois Leathernecks (11-30, 4-7 Summit League) 7-1 and 10-2.
On a blustery and rainy day at the Ellig Sports Complex, the Bison flexed its muscles to extend its Summit League win streak to 21 games.
In game one, it was the Leathernecks who jumped out to an early start. Bison starting pitcher Jacquelyn Sertic gave up three walks in the first inning. By the time the inning was over, the Bison were lucky to only be down 1-0.
The game settled down after that, with only two hits for the Bison the first time through the batting order. Leatherneck pitcher Emily Ira struck out six of the first ten batters she faced. In the third inning, the Bison were finally able to get on the board, thanks to Logan Moreland’s ninth home run of the season.
Ira had been susceptible to the long ball all season, and it was no different in the fourth inning. This time, it was Alyssa Reina going deep for her fifth of the year. Her shot to center field not only left the park, but rolled all the way into the track meet being hosted next door. The Bison would add another run as Maria Lopez-Portillo plated Zoe Stavrou with a RBI double.
A two-run lead was all the Bison needed. Kaitlyn Leddy, who came on for Sertic after the first inning, controlled the game. She would retire 10 batters in a row, giving up no walks, three hits, and four strikeouts in six innings of work. Leddy would get the win and improve her record to 8-7.
The lead would be extended again in the fifth. Reina would be the provider again, this time knocking in Cheyenne Garcia. Reina would finish the first game 3-3 with a pair of RBIs.
The bats continued in the final inning, with the Bison getting three more runs. Katie Shoultz drove home two with a single. She then came home herself after Moreland doubled.
Game two picked up where the first one left off. After Sertic, who started again, went through the top of the first without issue, the bats kept rolling. The Bison would send eight batters to the plate, with the first run of the game coming from Shoultz on a Moreland ground out. Reina and Jackie Stifter drove in runs to give the Bison a commanding lead.
After adding one run in the second, the hits came fast in the fourth. Reina looked like she had a three-run homerun as the ball left the bat, but the ball hung up in the wind blowing in from center field and dropped onto the top of the fence. Reina would be in for a triple and have another two RBI.
Sertic would handle the Leatherneck bats, giving up just eight hits and two runs. This would do as she picked up her 20th win of the season (20-6). The Bison would add one run in the sixth to finish the game.
Head coach Darren Mueller said after the game the team focus was quality at-bats.
“We have been trying to get quality at-bats in a row, we do that and we score runs.” Mueller was also impressed by the resilience of Sertic. “I kind of wanted to see what she would come back with. Let’s just see how resilient she can be and she did a good job.”
The Bison travel to Minneapolis for a midweek doubleheader against the Golden Gophers before taking the trip to the University of South Dakota for a three game series against the third-place team in the Summit League this weekend.