The UND softball team heads to Florida for five games at the Eastern Michigan Madeira Beach Spring Invitational, Feb. 17-19. North Dakota will start the weekend with an 8 a.m. (CT) game against Central Michigan, followed up by a game against Southern Illinois at 1 p.m.
On Saturday, the Fighting Hawks play in back-to-back games, first taking on the Big Ten’s Michigan State at 1 p.m. (CT) and then playing Oakland at 3:30 p.m.
North Dakota wraps up competition on Sunday with a lone game against the host team Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. (CT).
Live stats for all games will be available through various teams’ websites during the weekend, links can be found above or at the tournament central website.
Last Time Out
North Dakota had its best start in Division I history after going 4-1 at the Louisiana Tech Invitational last weekend, Feb. 10-12. The Fighting Hawks started the weekend with a split on the day, beating Samford 4-3 before losing to host LA Tech, 10-2. UND then closed out the tournament with three straight wins, downing Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 8-0, Incarnate Word, 2-1, and Missouri State, 5-4.
Freshman Angel Love led the team over the weekend with a .444 average, earning four hits in nine at bats and drawing six walks. Love also scored a team-high five runs, while also batting in three more. Junior Taylor Nadler was a close second, batting .385 over the weekend and recorded a team-high 11 total bases and hitting two home runs.
North Dakota two returning pitchers, Kaylin VanDomelen and Hannah Bergh, also had a stellar weekend in the circle. VanDomelen pitched a total of 14 innings without conceding a single earned run while also striking out 13 batters. She recorded one win and her first career save. Bergh threw a total of 12 innings over the weekend and recorded three wins for UND.
Best of the Week
For their efforts at the 2017 Louisiana Tech Invitational, Feb. 10-12, both Taylor Nadler and Kaylin VanDomelen earned player of the week honors from the Big Sky Conference. Nadler batted .385 over the weekend with a team-high five hits in 13 at bats, while also hitting two home runs, scoring four runs and batting in three more. VanDomelen was named the Pitcher of the Week after throwing 14 innings without giving up a single earned run. She struck out 13 batters over the weekend and recorded one win and her first career save.
Looking Back at 2016
The Fighting Hawks closed out the 2016 season with a 17-37 overall record and a 4-15 mark in Big Sky play. It marked the second season for head coach Jordan Stevens and also his second straight improving the team’s overall winning percentage since arriving to Grand Forks.
The 2016 season also marked the most Big Sky wins UND has recorded in a single season, as the Fighting Hawks picked up two wins against Northern Colorado, and wins against Portland State and eventual league champions Weber State.
North Dakota returns its No. 2 and No. 3 leading hitters from last season in Mary Martin and Kaylin VanDomelen, respectively. Both recorded a .298 average last season, while VanDomelen led the team with 51 hits and 77 total bases.
Around the diamond, Martin behind home plate for her sophomore season. Autumn Cervantez enters her senior year and will return at second base for the Fighting Hawks. Cervantez hit .238 last season and started in 49 games for UND.
In the circle, UND returns its two starting pitchers in VanDomelen and Hannah Bergh. VanDomelen threw in 35 games last season and recorded a 14-20 record. She threw 20 complete games and recorded four shutouts, a 3.19 ERA and struck out a career high 151.
One of the Youngest
North Dakota has the third-youngest team in the nation, based on the number of underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores). UND has nine freshmen and seven sophomores, for a total of 16 underclassmen out of a total of 24 players on the 2017 roster.
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New Faces in the Lineup
With UND fielding such a young team, coach Stevens expects some new Fighting Hawks to start in the games at LA Tech. Taylor Nadler (transfer from Valparaiso), Angel Love (FR), and Lindsey Harford (FR) will see time in the outfield, while Lexi Mayhood (FR) and Dani Romero (FR) will see time in the infield.