Bison softball opens 1-5 at Puerto Vallarta College Challenge to start 2023 season

North Dakota State shuts out California Baptist 4-0 in season-opener

Following a third-place finish in the Summit League in 2022, the Bison softball team opened up their season at Nancy Almaraz Field in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on Friday morning against the California Baptist Lancers.

Bison Head Coach Darren Mueller saw his team start the season on a positive note. After a scoreless top of the first inning, the Herd got on the board in the bottom half. With one runner aboard, shortstop Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage doubled to right field, bringing Carley Goetschius in for the Bison’s first run of the 2023 season. Two batters later, freshman Zoe King singled in another run and the lead was now 2-0.

Following the RBI single, it would be a pitcher’s duel for the next three innings. Senior pitcher Paige Vargas pitched five innings in her season debut and surrendered just 3 hits and 1 walk on the day while picking up 4 strikeouts.

The Bison offense would go quiet from the second inning until the end of the fifth inning. However, after Emilee Buringa singled, Goetschius would strike again smashing a 2-run home run to left center field. The first long ball of the season extended the Bison lead to 4-0 at the end of the fifth inning.

Following the 2-run dinger, Mueller called for freshman pitcher Piper Reed to make her Bison debut. Reed allowed just two hits in two innings of work and no damage was done.

After a scoreless bottom of the sixth inning, Reed would be sent out for the top of the seventh inning. A one out single from Molly Kolander did no harm as Reed then forced two pop-outs to finish the game. The Bison recorded six hits on the day and held CBU to five while neither team committed an error.

The Bison win their season opener for the second year in a row and the fourth time in the last six years. Next up for the Bison was BYU who they would take face on Saturday afternoon at 12:30.

Herd suffer first defeat of season to BYU 10-1 in 5 innings

Looking to build off their 4-0 win over California Baptist, the Bison took the field again to face off with BYU. The Bison and Cougars have faced off eight times previously and each team has won four games. The most recent matchup was in March 2020 when the Cougars defeated the Bison 1-0 in the Fresno State Classic.

As the visitors, the Bison went down 1-2-3 to start the game. Making her season debut in the circle was senior pitcher Lainey Lyle. After retiring the first two batters, Violet Zavodnik of BYU drew a walk and stole second, and was eventually driven in by Maddie Udall with a single to left center to bring in the game’s first run.

The Bison offense would shortly respond in their next turn to the plate. Following a single, walk, and single from Chloe Woldruff, Zoe King, and Bella Dean, second baseman Skylar Padgett singled to left field to bring home a run. King was subsequently thrown out at the plate but the game was tied at one.

Unfortunately for North Dakota State, the bottom of the second inning would get out of hand. After allowing four singles and two walks resulting in four runs, Lyle was pulled from the game. In just 1.2 innings of work, Lyle allowed seven runs on six hits and four walks while striking out none. In relief was sophomore pitcher Savy Williams to make her season debut. Williams would allow two more hits and a walk resulting in two more runs to score. After the second inning, the Cougars led 7-1.

Following another 1-2-3 inning from the Bison hitters, the Cougars would add two more runs to the scoreboard from RBI singles by Udall and Huntyr Ava to push their lead to 9-1 after three innings.

After a second straight 1-2-3 inning, Piper Reed returned to the circle for the second straight day. Reed would allow her first collegiate run on an Emma Andrewjeski RBI single that extended the lead to 10-1. The Bison would get two aboard the basepaths in the top of the fifth, but Carley Goetschius flew out to end the game. For the day, the Cougars recorded 13 hits and drew six walks while holding the Bison to just 4 hits on the day.

The Bison dropped their first game of the season and the schedule got even tougher as they faced the #24-ranked Oregon Ducks on Sunday morning.

Bison can’t hold onto late-game lead; fall to #24 Oregon 4-3

Following a blowout loss to BYU on Saturday afternoon, the Bison returned to the field bright and early on Sunday morning for an 8:30 AM first pitch against the Oregon Ducks.

After retiring the Bison in order in the top of the 1st inning, the Ducks got on the board in the bottom half. With runners at the corners with one out, Alyssa Daniell singled off Bison starter Piper Reed to bring in the game’s first run and gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead.

The Bison would shortly tie the game in the top of the 3rd inning. After Emilee Buringa reached on an error, Carley Goetschius doubled to centerfield off Raegen Breedlove to tie the game at one.

The Ducks would take the lead right back in the bottom half of the inning. Following a one-out walk and single, Daniell struck again with an RBI single to right field. Senior pitcher Paige Vargas entered the game for Reed and finished the inning, but the Ducks led 2-1.

In the top of the 4th inning, the Bison would take the lead for the first time. Catcher Kaylee Moore doubled to left field to tie the game at two. After pinch runner Riley Leadstrom advanced to third on a passed ball, Skylar Padgett got her home with an RBI bunt single and the Bison led 3-2.

The Herd was in cruise control for the next couple of innings. Despite the minimal offensive success, Vargas was mowing down Ducks hitters until the end of the sixth innings.

After a two-out single by Ariel Carlson, third baseman Tehya Bird smacked a 2-run shot over the left-center field fence. The Ducks’ slim one-run lead would be enough to hold them over and after a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, the Ducks pulled away for a 4-3 win.

The loss drops the Bison to 1-2 after the crushing defeat. In 2022, the Bison were 23-1 when leading after 5 innings. Now the Bison would quickly have to regroup as they were set to take on Maryland later that afternoon.

Bison fall behind early and can’t come back; fall to Maryland 4-2

Trying to rebound after a heartbreaking loss to Oregon, the Bison returned to the field again to face the Maryland Terrapins. The Herd struggled to do so, however, as they were outhit 10-6 on the day and committed three errors.

After a scoreless 1st inning, Maryland got on the board in the top of the second. After a one-out double, Taylor Liguori brought in the game’s first run with an RBI single to left field off Bison pitcher Lainey Lyle.

In the 3rd inning, Bison Head Coach Darren Mueller put sophomore pitcher Savy Williams in the game in relief of Lyle. A Mackense Greico triple, followed by a Trin Schlotterbeck single pushed the Terrapin lead to 2-0.

The 4th inning wouldn’t get any better for the Bison. Maryland started the inning with a leadoff double and single to add pressure to Williams. Michaela Jones would then score on a double steal. Just two batters later, Kiley Goff’s RBI groundout to short brought the Maryland lead to 4-0.

Despite trailing, the Bison started to make some noise in the bottom of the 6th inning. After three consecutive singles, Reanna Rudd’s 2-run double sliced the Maryland lead in half at 4-2. Coming into the inning, the Bison had just two hits on the day and doubled that number in the 6th inning with four.

Despite having two runners in scoring position with just one out, the Bison stranded both of them. Chloe Woldruff grounded out and Kaylee Moore flew out to end the frame to keep the score at 4-2 Maryland.

The Terps went the seventh inning unscathed as Keira Bucher retired the side and picked up the save. Maryland improved to 4-1 on the season while the Bison fell to 1-3 with a doubleheader against Ole Miss set for Monday afternoon.

Bison mercy-ruled by Ole Miss 8-0 in first game of doubleheader

Hoping to get off a three-game schneid, the Bison softball team took the field in Puerto Vallarta for the fifth time to face the Ole Miss Rebels on Monday afternoon for a doubleheader.

The Bison simply could not get any momentum going and an early 2-0 deficit didn’t help that cause. With two outs in the top of the 1st inning, Mississippi’s Mya Stevenson cranked a 2-run home run to left field off Piper Reed to give the Rebels an early 2-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the first, Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage would record a single to left but would be stranded there. That base knock would be the lone hit of the game for the Herd as Brooke Vestal would shut down the Bison bats the rest of the way.

Ole Miss would keep it coming at North Dakota State as they added two more in the top of the second inning. DP Aynslie Furbush hit Ole Miss’s second home run of the game as she crushed a solo home run to right. A walk and a single later, Reed was removed from the game for Lainey Lyle. After a Bison error at third base, another Rebel runner came across the plate to extend their lead to 4-0.

A quick bottom of the second allowed the Ole Miss offense to keep rolling. With two on and two out, catcher Jamie Mackay laced a single to left field to bring in a run. As the batting order flipped over, the Rebels added two more runs to their total by way of a single by Jaila Lassiter. An error by centerfield Emilee Buringa brought home another run to raise the Rebel lead to 7-0.

After a scoreless top of the fourth inning, the Herd started to see some life in their half of the frame. Vestal walked the bases loaded which sent freshman Bella Dean to the plate. With a chance to push a run across, Dean whiffed on a Vestal pitched to end the inning.

Ole Miss would add one more run in the top of the 5th via an RBI sac fly by Lassiter to push the lead to 8-0. A three-up, three-down inning in the 5th ending with a Buringa groundout closed out the game. The loss drops North Dakota State to 1-4 on the season with the second game of the doubleheader shortly after.

Rebels pull away late to complete sweep of Bison 5-3

In hopes of not dropping five straight in the middle of their ten-game trip to Mexico, the Bison got another chance to salvage their hopes against Ole Miss in game 2 of the twin bill against the Rebels.

The first four innings of the game started as a pitcher’s duel between North Dakota State’s Paige Vargas and Mississippi’s Makenna Kliethermes. Through those first four innings, Vargas was perfect. The senior from Mission Viejo, Calif. retired the first twelve batters and with much aid from her defense as she struck out just three batters. The Bison offense couldn’t garner much success either during the first four innings. The Herd scattered four hits in the first four innings, but none reached any further than second base.

Finally breaking the ice in the top of the fifth inning was Carley Goetschius. The team’s RBI leader singled to centerfield to bring in Ella Claus who had been at second base. The very next batter, Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage, worked the count before driving a 2-RBI single to left field to extend their lead to 3-0.

The Rebels would respond right back in the bottom half of the inning. On a 3-1 count, Mya Stevenson whacked a solo home run to right center and immediately cut the Bison lead back to 3-1. Five batters later, with two on and two out, Natalie Ray singled to left and with the help of two Bison errors, two runners scored to tie the game at three.

In the bottom half of the sixth, the Rebels were right back at it. Ole Miss loaded the bases with one out by way of a hit-by-pitch and two walks. With the bases loaded, Jenna Lord hit a 2-run single to right field to give Ole Miss a 5-3 lead. Vargas got out of the inning two batters later but the damage was done.

Skylar Padgett looked to ignite a spark for her team with a leadoff single but to no avail. Three batters later, Carley Goetschius popped out to short, marking the fifth straight loss for North Dakota State.

North Dakota State got two days off on Tuesday and Wednesday and is set to take the field again on Thursday, February 16. The Bison will play Sacramento State on Thursday at 3 p.m., Southern Illinois and Tennessee at 10:00 and 12:30 respectively and Cal State Fullerton on Saturday at 3 p.m. to round out their trip to Puerto Vallarta.

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