UND Softball Falls to SDSU in First Round of Summit League Tournament
The Fighting Hawks dropped a 4-2 game to the Jackrabbits
FARGO, N.D. — A tetrad of runs in the early innings boosted No. 4 seed South Dakota State to a 4-2 win over No. 5 seed North Dakota in the opening game of the Summit League Softball Championships on Wednesday afternoon in Fargo.
UND (22-34) threatened in the final trio of frames, but could not complete the comeback as the Jackrabbits (35-15) held on to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinal vs. No. 1 seed North Dakota State.
Despite mustering only two hits, the Fighting Hawks saw seven runners reach and had the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the sixth inning, but SDSU pitcher Kendra Conard escaped the jam for her 16th win of the season.
SDSU was able to strike first in the bottom of the first. With two runners in scoring position, the Jacks popped a ball up in foul territory where Marina Marzolino was able to make the grab, but a smart tag at third allowed the game’s opening run to score. Moments later, a wild pitch from starter Jannay Jones brought home a second run and gave the Jackrabbits a two-run lead early in the game.
After UND received its first runner of the game on a walk to Jailene Carpio before she was stranded at third, SDSU struck again with a two-out double to left field that scored a pair of Jackrabbit base runners and increase the lead to 4-0 after four innings of play. Nikki Pica came in for relief in the bottom of the fourth, and surrendered only a pair of hits and two walks in the final 2.1 frames to keep the Hawks within striking distance.
North Dakota was finally able to get some offense going in the top of the fifth inning. Carpio’s bloop hit to left field scored two runners and broke up a no-hitter after SDSU walked three runners to load up the bases; however, a runner was thrown out trying to advance to third to end the inning, but not before UND had cut the deficit in half.
UND threated again in the top of the sixth, as Marzolino and Dani Romero reached with only one out to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Following a strikeout, Lexi Mayhood hit a strong ball to second, but Baily Janssen was just able to make the play in time to record the final out of the inning.
South Dakota State was able to retire the side in order in the top of the seventh to hold on for the 4-2 victory and advance in the tournament.