After a roughly six-week hiatus from home sporting events, athletics return to campus this week.
The Bison baseball team hosted Minot State on Wednesday, marking the first home sporting event since Feb. 18’s basketball senior night. The game against the Beavers kicked off a long slate of home contests on the diamond.
The Bison will play 12 more home games in April, broken up by a three-game series at South Dakota State to end the month. The Jackrabbits will be the Bison’s first home Summit League opponent, as the two will face off this weekend at Newman Outdoor Stadium. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Following their aforementioned weekend trip to Brookings, the Bison will host seven home games in May and finish the season at Fort Wayne.
The Herd are led at the plate by Logan Busch, Ben Peterson and Mason Pierzchalski.
Busch is batting .293 with an on-base percentage of .442, and his .537 slugging percentage and 20 RBIs are both third-best in the conference. Additionally, his three home runs are good for seventh in the Summit League.
Peterson is tied for the league lead in home runs with six and is slugging .500.
Junior infielder Mason Pierzchalski has taken a large leap in his second season as an everyday player. His batting average has risen to .310, a 59 point rise from the previous campaign. Pierzchalski has been hitting for more power as well, improving his slugging percentage from .296 to .450.
Senior Luke Lind has led the Bison’s middle of the road pitching staff. Lind’s 39 strikeouts are first amongst all Summit League pitchers. Lind is transitioning from relief work to a starting pitching role, having started seven games this season. The highlight of his season was a complete game shutout against St. Bonaventure, in which he struck out four batters and surrendered only three hits.
The softball team also will take the field for their home opener this weekend when they play host to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The Herd will play a Saturday doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. and will wrap up the three-game set with an 11 a.m. game on Sunday.
Following the series, the Bison will take on the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks on Tuesday. The softball team will face the University of South Dakota the following weekend. SDSU will come to Fargo the last weekend of April to conclude the Bison’s regular season schedule at Ellig Sports Complex.
NDSU will once again host the Summit League softball tournament, where they will likely once again contend for the title. The Bison have won the Summit League tournament the past seven seasons and the regular season title for five consecutive seasons.
Ace pitcher Jacquelyn Sertic has emerged as a star for the Bison. Sertic’s 11 wins, 176 innings pitched and 210 strikeouts are both tops in the Summit League, and her 2.74 ERA ranks second in the category.
Zoe Stavrou, Bre Beatty and Vanessa Anderson have been dominant in the batter’s box.
Stavrou and Anderson have both clubbed seven home runs, and Stavrou has driven in 22 runs. Stavrou’s RBI total is three shy from her season mark from last year.
Anderson’s bat has made her a daily starter. She tied the Bison single-game record with two home runs last weekend.
Beatty has batted .271 this season and was an integral contributor to the Bison’s sweep of Fort Wayne last weekend.
At the Schlanser Track, the Bison will host three meets during the regular season. The Lyle Hokanson Classic and Team Nodak Multis will be held on April 21 and 22. The NDSU Tune Up Meet will take place May 5. Additionally, NDSU will hold the 2017 Summit League Outdoor Championship.
Matti Mortimore has become one of NDSU’s top track and field athletes. A native of England, Mortimore is second in Division 1 in the javelin, with a school record throw of 254’ 2”, which he recorded at the Stanford Invitational. The record-setting throw was a 13” improvement on the previous school record, which he already owned. His performance earned him a second consecutive nod as the Summit League athlete of the week.
With the spring sports season in full swing, Bison fans have plenty to look forward to.