GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Strong pitching paved the way for the North Dakota softball team in its home-opening sweep against South Dakota State, as the Fighting Hawks earned 6-0 and 4-3 victories over the Jackrabbits on Wednesday afternoon at the Apollo Sports Complex.
Redshirt-junior Kaylin VanDomelen set the tone in the first game of the day, striking out eight batters and conceding just two hits in the team’s fifth shutout win of the season. In game two, Hannah Bergh limited South Dakota State to just two earned runs for her eighth win of the year.
In game one, North Dakota opened the scoring in the second inning after a single from Dani Romero with the bases loaded allowed Taylor Nadler to score and put UND up 1-0. The Fighting Hawks then used a South Dakota State error in the fifth inning to score five runs and put the game out of reach.
The scoring blitz started as UND had runners on first and second. Rachael Waynick hit a single up the middle, but the umpires judged that the SDSU shortstop committed obstruction on the play which resulted in Lindsey Harford receiving a free pass home.
Still with no outs and runners now on second and third, VanDomelen hit a double to left field to score both Waynick and Victoria Minor and put UND up 4-0. Nadler followed suit with her seventh double of the season to score VanDomelen, before eventually scoring off a wild pitch later in the inning.
Freshman Nikki Pica pitched for the final inning and retired the side in order to complete the shutout victory.
In the nightcap, Bergh threw all seven innings for her fourth complete game of the year.
The Fighting Hawks used one hit and one error in the first inning to jump on the scoreboard, as VanDomelen scored off an Alicia Young single. However, South Dakota State broke UND’s shutout streak in the third inning off a first-pitch home run to tie the game at 1-1.
North Dakota responded in the bottom of the inning with two doubles to score Young and take back the lead, 2-1.
The UND lead would be short lived, as the Jacks scored two runs on two hits and two errors in the top of the fourth to go up, 3-2.
Undeterred, North Dakota took back the lead for a third time as a two-run bomb off the bat of Marina Marzolino gave the Fighting Hawks the go-ahead runs it needed for the sweep. Bergh then closed out the final two innings in order to complete the comeback win against the Jacks.
On the day, Harford and VanDomelen both recorded a .500 average with three hits in six at-bats. Young, only playing in the second game of the day, recorded a career-best three hits in four at-bats.
North Dakota returns to the road this weekend, April 7-8, for a Big Sky series against Idaho State in Pocatello, Idaho. Friday’s doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. (CT), with Saturday’s contest also beginning at 1 p.m.