The North Dakota State softball team kicked off their season this past weekend, playing in the Santa Barbara Diamond Kickoff. They went 3-2 on the weekend, beating Utah State two times and losing once while splitting with Santa Barbara.
The Bison swept their doubleheader on Friday, winning game one against Utah State 10-3.
Utah State got off to a quick start after a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning. However, the Herd responded with eight unanswered runs, scoring six in the second inning and two in the third.
With two out and two runners on, Emilee Buringa started a string of four consecutive RBI doubles for the Herd. Molly Gates, Dez Cardenas and Cameryn Maykut joined in as well.
Paige Vargas took the mound for NDSU, pitching all seven innings, giving up three runs while striking out nine batters.
Maykut led NDSU with three hits, including two doubles and two RBIs. Additionally, four other Bison finished with multiple hits in the game.
In game two on Friday, NDSU beat Santa Barbara 17-2. The Herd found themselves trailing early once again, as Gauchos scored the opening run in the bottom of the first.
The Herd tied the game up in the third inning after an Avery Wysong RBI triple. They grabbed the lead in the fourth inning after a bases-loaded walk before Wysong cleared the bases with a double off the wall to give NDSU a 6-1 lead.
NDSU then scored at least 10 runs in an inning for the first time since scoring 10 against South Dakota in the second inning on May 8, 2015, as the Herd plated 11 runs in the sixth inning, triggering a run-rule victory.
The Herd made history, as the team recorded 16 walks, setting a new Division 1 era record.
Mac Schulz pitched for the Bison, going all six innings while giving up two runs and striking out two.
NDSU dropped both games on Saturday, losing game one to Utah State 6-4. The Bison took the lead in the bottom of the first after Cardenas doubled home Gates.
However, the Aggies would answer with six runs in the second inning after a bases-clearing double and a two-run home run.
The Herd countered with two runs in the bottom of the second after Buringa scored on a groundout and a Gates sacrifice fly cut the deficit to 6-3.
Pitcher Savy Williams took the loss for NDSU, allowing all six runs in 1.1 innings while striking out four. Schulz pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless relief as well.
The Bison lost a close contest in game two against Santa Barbara, losing 4-3. It was another quick start for the NDSU offense, as they took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after a Wysong RBI double.
Nicole Licea added a run for NDSU in the top of the fourth with a sacrifice fly to give the Herd a 2-0 lead. However, the Gauchos responded with four unearned runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.
The Bison added a run in the fifth inning after a Cardenas RBI single, but that was the last run NDSU scored as they left three base runners stranded in the last three innings.
Vargas took the loss for NDSU, going six innings and giving up zero earned runs. She also struck out four batters without allowing a walk.
NDSU finished off the Santa Barbara Diamond Kickoff with a high-scoring win over Utah State, beating the Aggies 15-9. The Herd hit three home runs in the game, including a grand slam by Maykut.
With the game tied 2-2 in the second inning with the bases loaded, Maykut hit the first home run of the season for the Bison with a shot into left field.
NDSU extended the lead in the third inning after RBI singles from Gates and Maykut and a sacrifice fly from Cardenas.
The Aggies would score six runs in the sixth inning to trim NDSU’s lead to 10-8. However, the Herd answered with two more home runs in the bottom of the inning, as Reanna Rudd hit her first career home run, a two-run shot to left field.
A few batters later, Buringa followed that up by hitting her first career home run, hitting a three-run homer to right field putting the game effectively out of reach.
Vargas got the start, going 2.1 innings while giving up two runs and striking out two batters. Williams picked up her first career win in relief, pitching four innings while giving up six runs and striking out one.
Maykut led the way offensively for NDSU, going 3-for-4 at the dish, and was just a triple shy of the cycle with six RBIs and two runs scored. Gates and Padgett were able to set career-highs each collecting three hits.
NDSU, now 3-2, will head to Statesboro, Georgia next weekend to play in the Gata Challenge. They are set to have a doubleheader on Friday against Maine and Georgia Southern, a doubleheader on Saturday against UT Martin and Maine and will finish with just a single game on Sunday against Georgia Southern.