North Dakota State softball takes three out of four games at Blues City Classic 

Bison softball fall late to UTSA 3-2 to open Blues City Classic 

Following a 2-2 weekend in Auburn, Ala. a week ago, the Bison softball team was back in action as they partook in the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn. The Bison were originally supposed to play Drake on Friday afternoon but the game was canceled due to poor weather. As things cleared up, the Herd would take on the University of Texas-San Antonio later that evening. 

The Roadrunners were just 3-14 prior to Friday’s game but came to play against the Herd. After a scoreless first inning, the Roadrunners got on the board in the top of the second inning. With two runners in scoring position and one out, UTSA’s Camryn Robillard brought Madison Lenton across the plate with a sac fly to center field. 

Through the next three innings, each team would combine for three walks and three hits but no harm was done on either side. That was until the bottom of the fifth inning when North Dakota State took the lead with a bang. After Skylar Padgett drew a leadoff walk and Ella Claus moved her to second with a sac bunt, centerfielder Emilee Buringa blasted a two-run home run to right center field. Buringa’s second dinger of the year put the Herd up 2-1 with just six outs to record. 

The Roadrunners would strike back in the top half of the 6th inning. Paige Vargas sent down the first two hitters of the inning on a flyout and strikeout but UTSA struck with a two-out rally. Taylor Jensen singled to center and Madison Lenton made the big blow with a two-run home run to left field. Despite 5.2 innings and 8 strikeouts, Vargas was in line for the loss and was pulled for Savy Williams after the homer. 

Williams got out of the jam but the Bison couldn’t garner any offensive success from there. Kaylee Moore was stranded after a one-out single in the sixth inning and the Bison didn’t score in the 7th inning either. Ella Claus hit a one-out single but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. Buringa then flew out to finish the game. 

The loss dropped the Herd to 6-9 on the season and would be back on the field on Saturday morning at 9 AM against SIU Edwardsville. 

Bison respond with 9-1 win over SIU Edwardsville thanks to late-game magic 

Following the tough loss to UTSA, the Bison got up early on Saturday morning to play SIU Edwardsville Cougars, who were 4-10 on the season prior to Saturday. Despite a late surge from the Bison offense, the first five innings were a pitcher’s duel between NDSU’s Lainey Lyle and SIU’s Kelsey Ray. 

The Bison picked up four hits through the first five innings but got nothing going. Luckily, Lainey Lyle stayed hot in the circle and mowed down Cougars’ hitters. The Cougars threatened with two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the 4th inning but Lyle escaped the two-out jam by inducing a groundout to third that ended the frame. 

The top of the 6th is when the Herd got rolling and put up a crooked number. Emilee Buringa reached on a bunt single and two batters later Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage got the party started with a two-run home run to left field. Aguilar-Beaucage’s first homer of her Bison career put her team up 2-0. On the very next pitch, first baseman Reanna Rudd slapped her first home run of the year to left field. The team’s home run leader in 2022 put the Bison up 3-0 after the top of the sixth inning. 

In the bottom half of the inning, Cougars’ centerfielder Lexi King gave her best efforts to galvanize her team with an RBI double to trim their deficit to 3-1. Following the double, Paige Vargas came in for Lyle to end the threat and she did just that. A strikeout and groundout got the Herd out of the inning and they maintained a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame. 

While hoping for some insurance runs, of course, the Bison would go crazy offensively in the seventh. After Zoe King reached on an error to ignite the big inning, Ava Chavarria hit King’s pinch runner Riley Leadstrom in with a single to left field. 

As the batting order flipped over, the Bison added another with an RBI single from Emilee Buringa to push the lead to 5-1. Another run would score after Aguilar-Beaucage was hit by a pitch and Reanna Rudd recorded another extra-base hit with a 2-run to double to increase the lead to 8-1. Kaylee Moore hit the sixth and final run of the inning in with a sac fly to left field and the Bison lead was 9-1. 

Paige Vargas would finish off the game with a scoreless bottom half of the inning despite allowing a double and a hit batter. Lainey Lyle picked up the win to improve to 3-4 on the season and Vargas recorded her second save of the year. 

The 10 hits by the Bison offense propelled them to their first win of the day on Saturday to improve to 7-9. The Bison would be back in action that afternoon against the Memphis Tigers. 

Seven extra-base hits key in Bison’s 15-4 onslaught of Tigers 

The late-game offensive thrashing by the Bison bats early in the day on Saturday against SIU Edwardsville carried over against the Memphis Tigers. In the third of four games during the Blues City Classic, the Bison scored a season-high 15 runs on 15 hits with nearly half going for extra bases. 

After a couple of flyouts to start the game, the Herd foiled any hope the Tigers had of winning on Saturday. Just one strike away from ending the inning, Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage picked up where she left off earlier, smashing a solo blast to left field to get the scoring started. After a double, single, and walk, the Bison were still threatening. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Ava Chavarria cleared the bases with a double to right center field. After a near 1-2-3 inning, the Bison now led 4-0 before Paige Vargas even took the circle. 

After a three-up, three-down inning from Vargas, the Bison offense went right back to work. Following a walk and a double, Carley Goetschius brought in the first run of the inning with a sac bunt. The next batter, Aguilar-Beaucage knocked in another run home with an infield single to build a 6-0 lead. A few batters later, Ava Chavarria tallied her 4th RBI of the game with an infield hit of her own. An RBI single and walk by Skylar Padgett and Ella Claus respectively, brought the Bison lead up to 9-0 by the end of the 2nd inning. 

In the top of the third inning, Reanna Rudd blasted her second home run in as many days to push the lead to 10-0 as she scored one of her four runs on the day, tying a program record. Vargas remained dominant in the circle during that stretch, as she was nearly perfect during her three innings of work. 

Despite the big lead, the Bison offense wouldn’t slouch off in the final stages of the game. With two on in the top of the fourth, Aguilar-Beaucage stayed on her recent tear by connecting on another longball. Her three-run shot to right-center had ballooned the Herd’s lead to a baker’s dozen at 13-0. After a Bella Dean RBI single three batters later, the Herd had a two-touchdown lead at 14-0 in just the 4th inning. 

The Tigers, however, would get to Vargas in the bottom half of the inning with a big inning of their own. First, an RBI double by Kendall Lee and then a three-run homerun by Alia Zavala gave the Tigers some life but still trailed 14-4. 

Piper Reed came in relief of Vargas and silenced the Tiger bats by retiring all three batters she faced. The Herd would get one more across in the fifth on the first home run of the season from senior Skylar Padgett. Prior to Saturday, North Dakota State had hit just four home runs on the season but in the two games on Saturday alone, they connected on six, three of which by Aguilar-Beaucage. 

For her efforts, Aguilar-Beaucage was named TicketSmarter Summit League Peak Player of the Week. In the Blues City Classic, she posted a .417 batting average, .533 on-base percentage, and 1.167 slugging percentage along with three home runs, eight RBI’s and six runs scored. This is the second time a Bison player has received the honor this season, with Paige Vargas being the other last week. 

Reed would retire the side with ease in the bottom half of the fifth, culminating in a strikeout that ended the game due to the eight-run mercy rule. The win moves the Bison to 8-9 on the season with one more game in the Blues City Classic on Sunday against UTSA once again. 

Bison win 3rd straight to close out Blues City Classic over UTSA 7-4 

Following a 1-5 start to the season, the Bison softball team has started to gain some traction as they’re now 7-4 since Sunday. Despite being outhit 11-7 on Sunday, the Bison managed to come away with the win behind a 4-4 day at the plate from Carley Goetschius and 3 RBIs from Reanna Rudd. 

After a scoreless first two innings, the Roadrunners would be the first to bring a run across in the top of the third. With a runner at third, Marena Estell singled to right field to give UTSA a 1-0 lead. 

North Dakota State answered immediately however, with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. With two runners in scoring position, Goetschius recorded her second hit of the day which brought in Ella Claus to tie the game at one. Emilee Buringa would score on the next pitch thanks to an error and Reanna Rudd would pick up her first RBI following that with a single to center field to push the lead to 3-1. 

Lainey Lyle stayed in control in the circle for North Dakota State over the next two innings until her offense got going again. In the bottom of the fifth, the Herd put up another crooked number with three runs yet again. Following a Buringa walk and Goetschius double, Buringa scored on a passed ball. A couple of batters later, Rudd brought in the second run of the inning with an RBI groundout to short. Two batters later, Bella Dean would do the exact same and with just six outs to record, the Herd led the Roadrunners 6-1. 

The top of the sixth did not go smoothly for North Dakota State, but they still clung to their lead. After Lyle allowed a single and RBI double from Camryn Robillard, Savy Williams came in to relieve. After another run came across by way of a sac fly from Ciarra Mata, Lyle’s line was complete. While she would wind up with the win to improve to 4-4 on the season, the senior allowed nine hits and three runs while striking out two over five innings of work. 

A walk and single later, Williams’ day was cut short as well after facing just four batters. Piper Reed came in relief, allowed a sac fly to Estell but got the next batter to line out. After a shaky inning, the Bison held a slim 6-4 lead. 

North Dakota State would add an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th inning. With the bases juiced and two down, Reanna Rudd reached on an error by the Roadrunners’ 3rd baseman and Ella Claus came across to score. 

Now with a 7-4 lead, Reed came back out to finish the job and did so swiftly. While it took her a decent amount of pitches, Reed recorded a groundout, strikeout, and line out to retire the side. 

Reed’s first career save finished the Bison’s trip to the Blues City Classic on a high note. The win now puts the Bison at .500 for the first time since February 11 with a record of 9-9 on the season. 

Now with just 10 non-conference games remaining, the Bison will play the next five games in Minneapolis, Minn. next weekend from March 10-12 in the Gopher Indoor Classic. The Herd will take on Idaho State at 2 p.m. on Friday before playing Minnesota later that evening at 7 p.m. 

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