GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The UND softball team picked up its first program win against Sacramento State in a 4-1 decision over the Hornets on Friday afternoon at the Apollo Sports Complex. However, Sac State won the second game, 12-6, to force a split in the Big Sky doubleheader.
The win against the Hornets also marked the 18th of the season for the Fighting Hawks, the most in a single season under head coach Jordan Stevens and the most since 2013. North Dakota is now 18-25 on the season with a 4-6 mark in Big Sky competition.
“We got some good swings in late in game one that allowed us to create some separation and we were able to hang on,” Stevens said. “In game two, I thought we swung the bat much better, but they hit five out of the park which makes it hard to win, so we will need a complete effort tomorrow in all three areas of the game.”
UND started off the day locked in a tight battle through the first three innings of game one. Neither side could get much offense going until Marina Marzolino hit an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth to put UND on the board.
The Fighting Hawks then extended their lead in the fifth with three runs on three hits and one error. Victoria Minor led off the inning reaching on an error by the Hornets’ second baseman. One out later, Kaylin VanDomelen hit her fifth home run of the season to put UND up 3-0. Taylor Nadler followed suit for back-to-back home runs, her seventh of the season, to give UND a 4-0 lead.
Sacramento State unfortunately ended VanDomelen’s bid for a shutout with a lone run on two hits in the top of the sixth.
However, despite giving up the one earned run through four hits, VanDomelen threw a career-best 11 strikeouts for her ninth win of the season.
In the nightcap, Sac State’s bats warmed up and the Hornets recorded a total of 17 hits, including five home runs, three of which came in the third inning alone.
Sac State used two hits including its first home run to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. North Dakota responded with two runs thanks to VanDomelen’s second home run of the day. The Fighting Hawks then tied the game in the second inning off an RBI double from Lindsey Harford.
Unfortunately, the Hornets put up five runs on seven hits in the top of the third to firmly take control of the game.
North Dakota had an attempt at a rally in the fifth, as three hits and two errors allowed the Fighting Hawks to score two runs and load the bases. The rally would fall short as the Hornets were able to get out of the inning and strand three on base.
The Hornets then added three more runs to their lead in the top of the sixth before both sides traded solo homer runs in the seventh inning to end the game at 12-6.
Overall, VanDomelen led the Fighting Hawks with a .667 average with four hits in six at-bats over the course of the day. Both Minor and Marzolino had four hits in seven at-bats for a .571 average, while Nadler was the only other Fighting Hawk to hit over .300 on the day with two hits in six at-bats.
North Dakota and Sac State return to the Apollo Sports Complex for game three of the conference series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. (CT).