Late inning offensive surges lead SDSU
It was a tale of two games, two Summit League teams and what was supposed to be two days of softball at NDSU’s Tharaldson Park. Unfortunately for the Bison, it only took one of those days for South Dakota State University (31-10, 12-2 Summit) to hand the Bison two conference losses. The Jackrabbits, exploding offensively late in both games, swept North Dakota State (25-19, 7-6 Summit) winning both games 8-1. Sunday’s third game was canceled due to rain and snow.
In Saturday’s game one, the fans were treated to a warm, albeit windy, day and outstanding pitching performances by NDSU’s Paige Vargas and SDSU’s Grace Glanzer. Both pitchers shut out their opponent through 8 innings of play. However, there were opportunities for both teams. In the Bison half of the second, NDSU’s Carley Goetschius hit a two-out double but was left stranded when Avery Wysong grounded out to end the inning.
SDSU got a runner all the way to third in the top half of the fourth when Cylie Halvorson led off with a double to right-center. But Vargas struck out Kelsey Lenox for one out, then Halvorson advanced to third on Cheyanne Masterson’s sac fly to right. With two out, Vargas forced Lindsey Culver into a third-to-first groundout to end the threat.
In the fifth, the Jackrabbits’ Jocelyn Carrillo flew out to deep right-field which, on any other day, would have left the park.
The next serious threat for SDSU was in the sixth when Rozelyn Carrillo hit a one-out double. She advanced to third when Halvorson hit into a fielder’s choice. Next, Lenox drilled a hard one-hopper which was fielded cleanly by Goetschius at third base who made the throw to first and ended the Jackrabbit threat.
For the Bison, the only other serious threat during regulation was in the bottom of the seventh. Cameryn Maykut drilled a double over SDSU center-fielder J. Carrillo This was another ball that probably should have left the park if it had not been for the winds. Glanzer then struck NDSU’s Reanna Rudd to end the threat and force extra innings. Earlier in the at-bat, Rudd had laced a liner down the left-field line, but the fierce winds pushed it just foul.
On to the eighth where both teams threatened. In the top half, the Jackrabbits’ Emma Osmundson hit a line-drive down the left-field line that had double written all over it, but Bison left-fielder Molly Gates, who was already playing the line due to the high winds, stabbed at the ball to make the catch. Later, Roz Carrillo singled with two out, but Vargas forced Halvorson to fly out to center to end the Jacks’ eighth.
In the bottom half of the eighth, the Bison threatened again. Avery Wysong singled with one out. After a strikeout made it two outs, Bison Head Coach Darren Mueller inserted Ciara Jensen in the game to pinch-hit for Skylar Padgett. After battling Glanzer for a few pitches, Jensen laced the ball just to the right-field side of SDSU center fielder, Jocelyn Carrillo. Wysong running on the play continued past second and on to third. Carrillo made a near-perfect throw to SDSU third baseman Cheyanne Masterson, who easily applied the tag to Wysong for the third out and forced the ninth inning.
In South Dakota State’s ninth, the Jacks struck gold. Designated player Kelsey Lenox hit a mammoth home run into the wind blowing in from right field to put SDSU up 1-0 which is where the score stayed when the Bison came to bat in their half of the ninth.
In their ninth, NDSU’s Molly Gates led off with a single. After two infield popouts, Gates advanced to second on a Glanzer wild pitch. Then, on a 2-2 count, Maykut laced a single to left. Jackrabbit left-fielder Peyton Daugherty’s throw was off the mark and Gates scored to send the Bison faithful and the game to the tenth inning.
In the tenth, the sky turned dark and as did the Bison. J. Carrillo hit Vargas’ first pitch of the inning to right for a double. Daugherty, in an attempt to move the runner, dropped down a bunt single and Carrillo advanced to third. Osmundson then reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Carrillo to make it 2-1 Jackrabbits. Bison second baseman Skylar Padgett went home in an attempt to throw out Carrillo, but her throw was off target and Carrillo was safe.
Roz Carrillo then hit into another fielder’s choice forcing Daugherty to third with two outs. Vargas then walked Halvorson on a ten-pitch at-bat, (Halvorson fouled off four of those pitches) to load the bases. Vargas then walked Lenox to force in Daugherty to make it 3-1. Masterson then singled to left bringing in R. Carrillo. Still, with only one out, SDSU second baseman Lindsey Culver reached on another fielder’s choice scoring pinch-runner Caelyn Christiancy.
The Bison got their second out of the inning with a force out at third, but the score was now 5-1 in favor of SDSU. Catcher Brooke Dumont then singled to right field scoring Masterson to increase the lead to 6-1. Jocelyn Carrillo then cleared the bases with a double to right-center to end the scoring at 8-1.
Then, Mother Nature struck. Game officials had called a timeout to confer with the umpires. While fans were wondering what the holdup was, cell phones started going off announcing a tornado warning for Cass County. After the warning expired and an additional 30-minute lightning delay (a more than two-hour delay combined), Vargas returned to the mound to get SDSU’s Peyton Daugherty to ground out to the shortstop and end the two-and-a-half-hour half-inning.
Glanzer (16-4), set the Bison down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the tenth to close out her 10-inning, complete-game win. She scattered six Bison hits and struck out seven while giving up the lone earned run.
Meanwhile, Vargas (13-9), took the loss for the Herd. Vargas pitched well through eight but surrendered an earned run in the ninth and seven more in the eighth. She also walked four batters, two of which came in the tenth in going the distance for the Herd.
For the Bison, Cameryn Maykut had two hits and collected the lone RBI.
The nightcap of the doubleheader, scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, did not begin until 5:05 p.m. It also started much the same way the first game did, in a pitcher’s duel. SDSU’s Tori Kniesche faced off against NDSU’s Lainey Lyle. Lyle was looking for her fifth Summit League win in a row. With no one score through five innings of play, it looked like another multi-inning, marathon contest was in store for the remaining fans at Tharaldson Park.
The Bison did get the lead-off hitter on base in three of those first five innings, but all were left stranded. In the second, Cameryn Maykut lead off with a base hit but was forced out on the very next at-bat. Nicole Licea then led the Bison third off with a double, but she was left at second after an infield pop-out and two strikeouts courtesy of Kniesche.
In the fourth, Maykut popped a pitch up in the infield and it looked like a cinch for SDSU’s first baseman Cylie Halvorson. However, the wind was still blowing in hard from right and Jackrabbit catcher Allison Yoder charged the ball as well. Halvorson and Yoder collided, and the ball hit Halvorson in fair territory, then rolled to the backstop. Maykut advanced to first on the popup, but again, was left at second when a fielder’s choice for out one, a swinging strikeout for out two, and Kniesche caught the last batter looking at strike three which ended the Bison threat.
In the fifth, Licea worked a lead-off walk off of Kniesche, but she was forced out at second on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Then Kniesche did her thing again and struck out Molly Gates looking and Emily Buringa on three straight swings.
Finally, in the sixth, the Jackrabbits struck. Kelsey Lenox led off the inning with a double. The next batter, Lindsey Culver, then doubled which scored Caelyn Christiancy, who was pinch-running for Lenox. Allison Yoder then singled to left scoring Culver. A walk and an Emma Osmundson base hit would load the bases, but Lyle got Roz Carrillo to pop out to the infield to end the scoring at 2-0.
The Bison would get one back in their half of the sixth. Dez Cardenas led off with a walk. She moved to second on Maykut’s base hit to center. Kniesche then hit Rudd with a pitch to load the bases. Carley Goetchius then reached on a fielder’s choice when Roz Carrillo fired the ground ball home to force Cardenas out. After a strikeout, Licea singled to left scoring Maykut to cut the SDSU lead in half at 2-1. Kniesche then struck out Bison pinch hitter Ciara Jensen to end the threat.
In the seventh, the Jackrabbits would blow the game open after Cheyanne Masterson’s three-run home run stayed fair down the left-field line. Savy Williams then came in to replace Lyle and surrendered three more runs to the Jacks. A Yoder double and a Roz Carrillo single did that damage and ended the SDSU scoring at 8-1.
The Bison tried to come back getting two on in the bottom half of the inning, but Kniesche forced an infield pop out and another strikeout (her 12th) to complete the sweep for the Jacks.
Besides the twelve strikeouts, Kniesche (13-5) gave up one earned run on five Bison hits to get the win. She walked four and hit one Bison batter.
Lainey Lyle, (5-4), gave up five earned runs on eight SDSU hits while striking out three in taking the loss. It was Lyle’s first conference loss of the season (4-1). Savy Williams gave up three earned runs on three hits for her one inning of work.
The Bison head up to Grand Forks next to face the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (13-34, 3-12 Summit). The Saturday doubleheader starts at 12 p.m. and Sunday’s game at Apollo Sports Complex is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start.