Bison softball sweeps GATA Challenge

The North Dakota State softball team won all four of their games at the GATA Challenge this past weekend. They beat UT-Martin, Maine twice, and Georgia Southern.

The Bison kicked off the GATA Challenge on Saturday with a 10-0 win over UT-Martin.

The Herd got the scoring started in the top of the second inning as they had the bases loaded before Skylar Padgett was hit by a pitch to plate the first run of the game. Up next, Emilee Buringa hit an RBI single to begin a perfect 3-for-3 day at the plate for her. Finally, Molly Gates cleared the bases with a three-run double to give NDSU a 5-0 lead.

Gates added an RBI double in the fourth inning and two batters later Cameryn Maykut added an RBI single to extend the lead to 7-0.

Buringa capped off the scoring for the Herd in the fifth inning after hitting a three-run home run to left field.

Pitcher Paige Vargas was tremendous in the opening game as well, pitching five shutout innings while striking out six batters.

In game two on Saturday, NDSU beat Maine 12-2. The Herd struck first as Maykut grounded into a fielder’s choice in the top of the first inning to give them a 1-0 lead.

They were also able to take advantage of some sloppy defense from Maine in the second inning, scoring four more runs after two errors from the Black Bears.

Maine was able to counter with two runs in the bottom of the second to cut the Bison lead to 5-2. However, NDSU would go on to score a run in the third, fourth and fifth innings before a four-run seventh inning put the game away.

Maykut and Buringa led the way offensively with three RBIs each.

Savy Williams pitched for the Bison as she went seven innings, giving up two runs and striking out five.

On Sunday, NDSU beat Maine again, winning 8-2. Chloe Woldruff got the scoring started for the Herd with an RBI double in the second inning. Four batters later, with the bases loaded, Molly Gates added an RBI single and then Dez Cardenas walked home another run.

Woldruff added another RBI in the third inning with a single to right field.

Maine would answer with two runs in the top of the fourth, but the Herd responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.

Vargas had another good outing, pitching seven innings while giving up two runs and striking out nine batters. With the win, her record improved to 3-1 on the season.

In their final game in the GATA Challenge, NDSU beat Georgia Southern 5-0, giving them a clean sweep for the weekend.

The Herd got the scoring started in the top of the first after Carley Goetschius hit a sac-fly to right field.

NDSU added four runs in the fifth inning with a pair of home runs. Maykut hit a two-run homer, her second of the season, to put the Herd up 3-0. Two batters later, Goetschius hit her first home run as a Bison, extending the lead to 5-0.

Mac Schulz pitched for the Herd, going 5.2 innings, giving up zero earned runs, and striking out three.

Additionally, Emilee Buringa was named the TicketSmarter Summit League Softball Player of the Week for her efforts at the GATA Challenge.

She hit .636 on the weekend after going 7-for-11 with a home run and a double. She drove in seven runs, including a career-high four RBIs against UT Martin, while scoring five runs and adding a stolen base.

Buringa is the first Bison to earn player of the week honors since Maddie Hanson won on April 8, 2019.

With the wins, NDSU improved their record to 7-2 on the season and are currently on a five-game winning streak.

Up next, they will head to Albuquerque, New Mexico to play in the Lobo Classic, starting on Friday.

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