North Dakota State softball sweeps Kansas City in league opening weekend

The Herd’s offensive onslaught dominates the Roos

Bison rout Kansas City in conference opener 10-0 

As the non-conference schedule finally wrapped up last week, the Bison softball team started Summit League play this past weekend as they made the trip to Missouri to play the Kansas City Roos for a three-game series. Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, the Bison had been on an absolute tear. The Herd had won 10 of their last 12 games with two victories coming against Power 5 opponents. The Bison looked to stay hot as they took on a Kansas City team picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference and started the year with just a 5-21 record. 

The Herd struck early and maintained a lead before Paige Vargas even toed the rubber. After a one-out single by Carley Goetschius, first baseman Bella Dean cranked an RBI double to centerfield that brought Goetschius all the way around to score the game’s first run. 

After a scoreless bottom half of the inning, the Herd added one more shortly after. Zoe King led off the inning, but two batters later was still standing at second base with two outs. Chloe Woldruff, however, delivered as she dumped a single into left-center to extend the lead to 2-0. 

Vargas then made quick work of the Roos by sending them down in order and it wouldn’t take long for Dean and the Bison to start rolling once again. The Herd’s shortstop Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage, who made a significant impact all season, led off the inning with a double. Dean followed that up by blasting a two-run home run to straightaway left field. 

Dean’s coach, Darren Mueller, and teammate Carley Goetschius recently raved about how impressed they’ve been with the freshman and her confidence this season. She certainly proved that in game one on Saturday by going 2-3 with three RBIs along with the home run which is her third of the season. 

In the bottom of the inning, Vargas struck out two of her three batters to quickly shut down the Roos. The wheels then fell all the way off for Kansas City as the Bison piled on three more runs in the fourth. A double and walk by Skylar Padgett and Chloe Woldruff, respectively, ignited the threat before Goetschius strolled to the dish. 

The senior, who entered the game hitting just a tad under .400, stayed on her tear and broke the game open with a three-run home run to left center field. The reigning Summit League Peak Performer of the Week blew the game open with the blast to balloon the lead to 7-0. 

In the circle, Vargas maintained her perfect game as she induced a pop-out and a pair of groundouts to quickly exit the stanza. The Herd stayed cooking with the sticks and continued their onslaught in the fifth. After a double by Ava Chavarria and an error allowing Padgett to reach, Chloe Woldruff knocked in Chavarria with her second RBI single of the game to centerfield. 

Two batters later, Goetschius delivered again. The senior lifted a two-run double to left-center field that brought two more runs across. The 12th and final hit of the day for the Bison pushed the lead to 10-0. Goetschius finished the day 3-4 at the plate with 5 RBIs and just a triple short of the cycle. Due to the 10-run mercy rule, the Bison would need to record just three more outs without allowing a run to end the game early. 

After a pop-out to start the inning, Vargas was just two outs away from a perfect game. Unfortunately for her, it ended right there as Sydney Nichols singled to centerfield to end the bid. Vargas would also surrender a walk but after a couple of groundouts, the game was over and the Herd clinched their first conference win of the season. 

NDSU pitcher Paige Vargas delivers a pitch earlier this spring. Vargas, the senior from Mission Viejo, Calif., leads the Bison staff with a 10-5 record and an ERA of 1.59. Photo Courtesy | Rick Claus

Vargas finished the day going a full 5 innings, allowing just one hit, one walk and recording three strikeouts. The senior improved to 9-5 on the season which marks the third consecutive appearance without allowing a run. 

The Bison would turn around shortly as they still had the final game of their doubleheader to play later that day. 

Goetschius goes 3-4 once again; leads Herd to 4-1 victory over Kansas City to clinch series victory 

Following the dominant victory, the Bison were quickly back in action. Hoping to improve to 2-0 in the conference, Lainey Lyle toed the rubber this time as the Bison took the field. 

However, the Roos took the field first, being the home team. With one out, Carley Goetschius would line out after a long battle. That hard hit ball would be the only time for game Goetschius would be retired as she followed up a 3-4 game with another one in game two and she is now hitting a staggering .429 on the season after Saturday’s games. 

In the bottom of the inning, Kansas City recorded a couple of two-out hits but each runner was stranded. Each team went down in order in the second but the Herd got on the board in the third. 

After Skylar Padgett and Emilee Buringa singled and advanced into scoring position, Goetschius came through in the clutch. Goetschius ripped a two-run single into right field for the first runs of the game. After Aguilar-Beaucage doubled to centerfield, Bella Dean drove in Goetschius with a sac fly to left field. After tallying four hits in the inning, the Herd gave Lyle a 3-0 lead still relatively early in the game. 

After a harmless two-out hit by Kansas City in the third and a stranded one-out walk in the fourth for the Bison, the Roos put some pressure on Lyle in the fourth. A one-out double by Sydney Nichols, who broke up Paige Vargas’ perfect game in game one, and an error in the outfield put two runners in scoring position with just one out. However, Lyle escaped the jam in her best Houdini impression by swiftly striking out her next batter. The senior then closed the inning by forcing a comebacker to the mound to escape the inning scoreless. 

In the top of the fifth, Goetschius dropped a bomb on the Roos as she sent a home run out to left field. With one out, the senior third baseman lifted a solo home run, her second of the day, to extend the lead to 4-0. The Herd would get a couple more aboard but they were stranded after a pair of groundouts. 

Kansas City was finally able to get on the board for their lone run of the day in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out single by Gaby LaFavor was then followed by a lineout, but an error on Dean allowed her to move to second. A batter later, Amelia Fitzgerald reached on another error, this by Aguilar-Beaucage that brought in a run for Kansas City to trim the deficit to 4-1. 

The Bison didn’t have much going for them in the last two innings as only one runner reached base. In the top of the seventh, Goetschius recorded her third hit of the day with a single to centerfield but any threat was negated two batters later. 

However, Lyle didn’t falter either as she shut down the Roos in an orderly fashion. A 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth was followed up by a scoreless seventh. A leadoff single was thwarted by a strikeout, groundout back to Lyle, and a ball on the ground to second that ended the game. 

Lyle improves to 7-5 on the season with her complete game shutout. For the game, she allowed six hits, one unearned run, no walks, and two strikeouts. The Bison won their fourth game in a row and 12th in their last 14. The Herd would have one more game against Kansas City on Sunday before returning home. 

North Dakota State 10-runs Kansas City again 11-1 behind a 13-hit onslaught 

After sweeping Saturday’s games against the Roos, the Bison had an opportunity to sweep the series on Sunday in the conference opening weekend. After a slow start, the Bison bats erupted as the lineup turned over and picked up 11 hits in their last three innings. With Paige Vargas recording her 10th win of the season, the Herd rolled to their 5th straight victory. 

Emilee Buringa and Carley Goetschius did their best to get an early rally going right from the start with back-to-back leadoff singles. However, the following three batters were all retired and the Bison were not able to push any runs across. 

Starting pitcher Piper Reed ran into a bit of distress in the first inning as well but eluded the jam by striking out her third batter of the inning following a walk and single. Each team then went scoreless in the second and the game remained tied after two innings complete. 

In the third inning, the Bison were able to push one across for the game’s first run. Following a groundout, leadoff hitter Emilee Buringa drew a five-pitch walk and then proceed to steal second. Two batters later, Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage came through with an RBI single. While the scoring ended there, the Bison held a 1-0 lead and never looked back. 

Prior to that, the Roos stirred up a little bit of trouble themselves. After two of the first three batters singled, Paige Vargas entered the game for Reed. The senior then escaped the inning, with the help of her right fielder Chloe Woldruff throwing a runner out at the plate. 

In the top of the fourth, the Bison put up a crooked number to break the game wide open. After back-to-back singles, Skylar Padgett brought home the first run of the inning with an RBI single to left. Then after a double steal, Chloe Woldruff laid down a sacrifice bunt to bring home the Herd’s third run of the game. Following a pair of walks, Padgett then scored on a wild pitch. Emilee Buringa also came around to score after an error by the Kansas City catcher. 

Two batters later, Bella Dean supplied the biggest blow of the game. On a 1-1 pitch, the freshman first baseman smashed a three-run home run to left field. The long ball broke the game wide open as the Herd now led 8-0. Dean, the freshman from Sherrard, Ill., is now tied for the team lead in home runs with four just 23 games into her collegiate career. 

The following three batters would single, walk, and single, but a groundout ended the inning. Despite leaving three runners on, the Bison collected seven runs on six hits in the inning to balloon their advantage up to 8-0. 

In the bottom half inning, the Roos would score just their second run of the series. After an error started the inning, Katherine Karnatz followed that up two batters later with a double into the right-center gap. Despite the Bison throwing a runner out at the plate, the Roos still were able to score as Karnatz came home on a wild pitch to trim the Bison lead to 8-1. 

It appeared the Bison had enough of Kansas City at this point as they seemed to make it a top priority to end this game in five innings. As the lineup turned over after the third time through, the top of the order did their damage. With one out, Emilee Buringa connected with her third home run of the season with a solo blast to centerfield. 

The next two hitters, Goetschius and Aguilar-Beaucage, reached with singles before Kaylee Moore drew a walk two hitters later. Zoe King then pushed the lead to double digits with a 2-RBI single up the middle. The Bison’s 13th and final hit of the day pushed the Herd’s lead up to 11-1 with just three outs to record. For the day, five Bison hitters recorded multiple hits and drew five walks as a team. 

Despite allowing back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, Vargas escaped the jam in the fifth by taking matters into her own hands. Following two consecutive strikeouts, Vargas snagged a liner right back to her to end the game. 

Pitching just over half the game by going 2 2/3 innings, Vargas earned the win for the 10th time this season. For the game, she allowed four hits, one unearned run, one walk, and two strikeouts. Piper Reed, the Bison’s starter, pitched 2 1/3 innings while allowing no runs on just three hits and one walk while striking out four. 

The Bison (3-0, Summit) have now won nine of their last ten games to improve to 19-11 on the season. The Herd will be back in action next Saturday, April 1, against Western Illinois. The Bison and Leathernecks will play a doubleheader at 12 and 2 p.m. on Saturday and close out the series on Sunday at 11 a.m. 

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