FARMERS BRANCH, Texas - The University of North Dakota softball team's season came to an end with a 4-2 extra-innings loss to Nebraska Omaha in the Great West Conference Tournament.
The Fighting Sioux conclude their 2012 campaign with an overall record of 18-29.
"The girls deserved to win that game," head coach Eric Oakley said. "I lost it. There are four or five decisions a coach makes during a game and I made most of them wrong. That cost us a run. No excuses. That one is completely on me. The girls, especially (Erica Younan) and Maggie (O'Neal) deserved to go out better than that."
UND took a 2-1 lead in the second inning and carried it until the Mavericks evened the game in the sixth inning and scored two in the 10th inning including the eventual game-winner off a 2-RBI single by Amber Lutmer.
The Mavericks got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning as Lutmer led off with a walk. Lindsay Gilliland pinch ran for Lutmer and reached second and third off two wild pitches and then scored on an error.
The Fighting Sioux quickly answered back as Amanda Johnson (Ashby, Minn.), D Jantzer (Grants Pass, Ore.) and Taylor Donnelly (Lakeville, Minn.) all connected for doubles in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-1 lead.
Dana Elsasser entered the day only allowing 19 earned runs (0.92 earned run average) in 145.1 innings of work, but after pitching the complete game in UNO's opening 3-1 loss to host Houston Baptist and getting the start in its second game against UND, the Sioux forced UNO to make an early pitching change during the second inning as Kat Burrow entered the game with one out. Both runs in the inning were credited to Elsasser.
North Dakota chose to go with Caralyn Chewning (Willamina, Ore.) in the circle as she made only her second start of the season and she led the Sioux into the sixth inning with the lead allowing only one run off two hits and three walks.
UNO threatened in the top of the fourth inning with runners on first and second with only one out, but Chewning was able to get a ground ball hit to third baseman Brittany Baker (Buena Park, Calif.) who made a nice defensive play to get a force out at third and toss it across the diamond to get the double play at first.
UND went to the bullpen in the top of the sixth inning as Lexa Twist (Winnipeg, Manitoba) entered the game with one out and a runner on second after Chewning allowed a lead-off walk to Tonya Peterson and the Mavericks sacrificed bunted her to second.
Twist recorded the second out before Amber Lutmer was able to connect for a double to right-center field to score Peterson and even the game at 2-2.
Offensively, the Sioux picked up at least one hit in each of the first five innings and 8-of-10 total but failed to string them together to add to its two runs in the second inning. The Sioux went 1-2-3 in the sixth inning for the first time in the game.
Senior Erica Younan (Chico, Calif.) led-off the bottom of the seventh inning drawing a four-pitch walk and Kenna Olsen (Issaquah, Wash.) singled to set the table for the Sioux, but UNO would get out of the jam to force extra innings.
Lutmer led the Mavericks going 3-for-3, adding two walks and three RBI while Burrow pitched 8.2 shutout innings in relief.