POCATELLO, Idaho -- After sweeping South Dakota State on Wednesday, the University of North Dakota softball team extended its winning streak to a season-best four games with two wins over Idaho State on Friday afternoon. The Fighting Hawks shutout the Bengals, 4-0, in the first game of the doubleheader, before battling back for a 6-5 win in the nightcap.
“We had a good day today,” head coach Jordan Stevens said. “Great comeback win in game two, where we took some very good at-bats in the last inning and made a big play in the bottom to hold on. In the opener, we were able to get a couple timely hits and keep them off the board.”
North Dakota is now 17-23 (3-5 Big Sky Conference) on the season, tying the most wins Stevens has posted in a single season since taking over the program in 2015.
Pitcher Kaylin VanDomelen threw a gem of a game to open the doubleheader, throwing her 11th complete game and third shutout of the season. She struck out six Bengals while only conceding three hits in the contest.
VanDomelen also got things going on offense for UND, as she hit a two-out solo home run in the first inning to open the scoring. In the second inning, North Dakota added another run as Deja Miller stealing second base allowed Alicia Young to steal home and put UND up two.
In the fourth inning, two errors by the Bengals and a single by Dani Romero gave the Fighting Hawks their third run of the game.
North Dakota posted its final run as Romero reached on an error to lead off the fifth, before a single from Lindsey Harford later gave her a safe trip home.
The Fighting Hawks opened the scoring in the second game as well, but Idaho State finally got on the board after being shutout for nine innings to start the day.
A double from VanDomelen in the top of the third allowed Victoria Minor to score, putting UND up 1-0. However, in the bottom of the inning, Idaho State used three hits and one error to score two runs for its first lead of the day. The Bengals then added to their lead in the fourth with after a hit by pitch with the bases loaded allowed them to take a 3-1 lead.
The seventh inning then saw a combined six runs scored, with North Dakota earning four runs on three hits and one error to take a 6-3 lead. Idaho State, put up two runs on two hits and one error in the bottom of the frame, but UND recorded the final out at home as the Bengals tried to score a second run off an RBI single.
North Dakota’s seventh inning scoring blitz started as Dani Romero reached on a two-out fielding error with the bases loaded to tie the game at 3-3. Autumn Cervantez then followed up with a two-RBI single to center field and Harford hit an RBI single down the left line to put UND up 6-3 for the eventual win.
Despite giving up five runs to the Bengals, only one run was earned against junior pitcher Hannah Bergh, as she recorded her team-leading ninth win of the season. VanDomelen pitched the final out of the contest to earn her fourth save of the season.
On the day, both VanDomelen and Harford recorded three hits in seven at-bats for a .429 average. VanDomelen’s three hits included one double, triple and home run.
North Dakota and Idaho State finish up the weekend series with game three tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. (CT).