Bison softball goes 2-2 at Plainsman Invite

Herd drops to 6-8 on the young season

North Dakota State opens Plainsman Invite with 6-0 win over Brown

After a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the Bison softball team returned to the field in Auburn, Ala. to participate in the Plainsman Invite. The Bison were originally scheduled to play on Friday against Merrimack, but that game was canceled due to inclement weather. Instead, the Bison would go back-to-back days on Saturday and Sunday, February 25 and 26, with a doubleheader. On both days the Bison would play Brown University in the morning followed by Auburn in the afternoon.

In the first game of the Invite, the Herd got rolling early against Brown. The Bison loaded the bases to start the game with a walk and two singles by Carley Goetschius and Reanna Rudd. With one out, catcher Kaylee Moore hit Goetschius in with a sac fly to right field. The Herd would plate another run when the following batter, Bella Dean, reached on an error that brought Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage in to score to give NDSU a 2-0 lead.

The Bison offense didn’t have much going in the second inning and the Brown pitching staff picked up their only strikeout of the day. The Bears’ offense looked to make some noise in their half of the frame but after two singles and a walk, they stranded three base runners when Paige Vargas struck out Jayme Gross.

The North Dakota State offense would get back to work in the 3rd inning putting up a crooked number. Goetschius and Aguilar reached base to start the inning with a single and a walk, and Goetschius would reach third after a Rudd flyout. Then with Moore up to bat, Goetschius stole home on a double steal while Aguilar swiped second. After Moore walked, Dean singled to left to bring in another run to bring the lead to 4-0.

The Bison scored two more runs quickly on a sac fly by Ava Chavarria and an RBI single by second baseman Skylar Padgett to bring in Moore and Dean respectively. The four-run, four-hit 3rd inning gave the Bison a 6-0 lead that they would not relinquish.

Paige Vargas was dominant in the circle all day against the Bears’ hitters. In the final five innings, Vargas allowed just one hit while walking none and striking out five. For the day, she pitched a full seven innings for the complete game, allowing just three hits, one walk and striking out seven batters. Vargas improved to 4-2 on the season while lowering her season ERA to 1.35.

After a pop-out to end the game, the Bison improved to 5-6 on the season, with a game against Auburn to follow.

Penta’s no-hitter leads #20 Auburn to a 9-0 victory over North Dakota State

Looking to perhaps build their record up to .500 at 6-6 in the young season, the Bison softball team returned to the diamond just a couple of hours after a 6-0 win over Brown. Unfortunately for North Dakota State, their offensive success from earlier in the day would not be replicated.

Lainey Lyle took the ball on Saturday afternoon for North Dakota State and was excellent in the circle for the first three innings. Lyle didn’t strike anyone out but didn’t allow a run to score as her defense made plays behind her.

On the flip side, Auburn pitcher Maddie Penta was too much for Bison hitters to handle in the batter’s box. In 30 innings pitched prior to Saturday, Penta had yet to allow an earned run in the 2023 season. That continued against North Dakota State as Penta allowed just one Bison to reach base, on a hit-by-pitch, and she was eventually thrown out trying to steal second base in the third inning.

For the day, Penta allowed no runs, hits, or walks in 6 innings of work while racking up 7 punchouts to improve to 8-0 on the season.

The bottom of the fourth inning would be troublesome for Lyle and the Herd. An RBI double from Lindsey Garcia and RBI single from Icess Tresvik got the scoring started. Two batters later, Makayla Packer singled to left to increase the Tigers’ lead to 3-0 prompting Bison Head Coach Darren Mueller to put Savy Williams into the game for Lyle.

Auburn would record one more run on an RBI groundout to short by Carlee McCondichie bringing the lead to 4-0 by the end of the fourth inning.

The fifth inning saw no teams cross home plate but the bottom of the sixth was a different story. Packer got the inning started with a bunt single and proceeded to steal second shortly after. The Auburn lead would rise to 5-0 after McCondichie brought Packer in with a single.

Perhaps the biggest of all Auburn’s 12 hits would come just three batters later. With the bases loaded and just one out, Lindsey Garcia struck again, this time with a grand slam to right field off Williams. The Tigers had surpassed the eight-run rule; therefore, the grand slam sealed the 9-0 victory over the Bison.

The Herd would be back in action the next morning against Brown once again before another matchup with Auburn to follow immediately afterward.

Goetschius’ 2-run homer all Bison needs in 2-0 victory over Brown

The Bison returned to the field bright and early on Sunday morning at the Plainsman Invite in Auburn, Ala. to take on the Brown Bears once again. In the first go around, Paige Vargas thwarted any success from the Bears. This time, it was the same result but with the combined efforts of Piper Reed and Lainey Lyle.

North Dakota State couldn’t quite get woken up in the early stages of the game. Despite not getting any runners to score, the Bears did gain a little momentum early. Brown loaded the bases with a walk and a pair of singles, but Reed escaped the one-out jam with a strikeout and groundout.

Reanna Rudd and Kaylee Moore tried to get the Bison going in the 2nd inning, but it wouldn’t be until the third that things really got rolling. Following a walk and a sac bunt by Emilee Buringa to move Ella Claus into scoring position, third baseman Carley Goetschius blasted a 2-run home run to left field. The second home run of the season for the senior from Sioux Falls, S.D. gave the Bison a 2-0 lead.

After Goetschius’ big fly, Lainey Lyle came in for relief of Piper Reed. Lyle pitched well for the Bison as she only allowed three hits and a walk in her four innings of work. The best opportunity Brown had was in the top of the sixth with two runners on and one out, but Lyle forced a lineout and groundout to end the frame.

The Bison made some noise in the bottom of the sixth getting two aboard but a pop-out and strikeout ended the threat.

With one last chance to score at least two runs, Brown came up to hit in the seventh inning with their 9-1-2 batters coming to the dish. Lyle retired the first two batters of the inning via groundout and strikeout, but Meghan Gormley brought some energy with a triple to center field. That didn’t faze Lyle as she forced Brianna Rodriguez to pop out to finish the game.

Lyle picked up the win after four shutout innings to improve to 2-4 on the season after her best outing of the year. The Bison improved to 6-7 on the year with one final game against #20 Auburn to follow shortly.

#20 Auburn shuts out Bison again 4-0 to close Plainsman Invite

After a 9-0 blowout loss to Auburn on Saturday afternoon, the Bison were set to face the Tigers for a second time to wrap up their weekend in Alabama. The Bison were not no-hit this time but didn’t fare much better as they were still shutout and limited to three hits offensively.

The first two and a half innings were an absolute pitcher’s duel as NDSU’s Paige Vargas and Auburn’s Shelby Lowe combined to allow just one base runner each through the top of the third inning.

Auburn would get into the scoring column in the bottom half of the third inning to take a slim 1-0 lead. After a single and error got the Tigers going, the Bison elected to intentionally walk Auburn’s Bri Ellis, bringing Lindsey Garcia to the plate. The fear factor Garcia may have set on Saturday must have seeped in as Garcia drew a walk to bring across the first run of the game.

The next inning and a half were relatively quiet until Auburn got their sticks going again. A trio of doubles, the second of which was by Carlee McCondichie and the third by Ellis brought in the second and third runs of the contest for the Tigers. Two batters later, Jessie Blaine singled off Vargas to plate another run and bring the Tiger lead to 4-0.

Skylar Padgett tried her best to bring a little juice to the Bison with a single, but Maddie Penta was too dominant. The Tigers pitcher who no-hit the Bison on Saturday returned on Sunday to close out the game in the fifth. After Padgett singled, Penta struck out North Dakota State’s top two hitters in the batting order.

Vargas sent down Auburn quickly in the sixth to preserve the 4-0 deficit but unless the Bison could get going, Vargas would fall to 4-3 on the season. Vargas pitched six innings but allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits, four of which went for extra bases.

The Bison went down without a fight in the top of the seventh as none of the three batters reached base. After a pop-out and ground out, Penta struck out Reanna Rudd to retire the side. Despite that, pitcher Paige Vargas, catcher Kaylee Moore, and Carley Goetschius were named to the Plainsman Invitational All-Tournament Team.

The loss drops the Bison to 6-8 on the season and they now have four days off before their next game. The Bison will be participating in the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn. from March 3-5 where they will play five games. The first of which will come against Drake on Friday, March 3 at 10 a.m. before taking on the University of Texas – San Antonio later that afternoon.

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