VERMILLION, S.D. --- North Dakota and South Dakota split a pair of one-run games at the USD Softball Complex today as both teams battled windy conditions that saw gusts from 25-35 miles per hour. Senior Erica Younan (Chico, Calif.) and Kenna Olsen (Issaquah, Wash.) led the Sioux offensively combining to go 5-for-10 with six RBI, four runs and two home runs.
The Fighting Sioux improve to 18-26 on the year and return to action tomorrow afternoon in a twin bill at Nebraska Omaha. USD drops to 13-34.
USD 5, UND 4
South Dakota withheld a late comeback attempt by North Dakota to hold on for a 5-4 win in the opener of the doubleheader.
"When the opposing team wins and has more runs than hits, that means we didn't do our job on defense," head coach Eric Oakley said. "Two errors were the difference."
Both teams were limited to a combined nine hits in the game, but two UND errors helped the Coyotes score five runs off four hits. The Sioux pushed across four runs off five hits.
USD jumped out an early lead as Lindsey Boyd lead off the first inning and was hit by a pitch from junior Emma Gronseth (Forest Grove, Ore.). Boyd would take advantage stealing second base and eventually scoring the lone run of the inning off a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Coyotes opened a 3-0 lead in the third inning scoring two runs off only one hit but two defensive errors.
North Dakota cut the lead to one as Olsen sent a shot over the center-field fence for her fifth home run of the season. Olsen would finish the day nearly perfect, going 2-for-3 with one double and one homer, adding four walks, and increasing her season average to .421.
South Dakota would score a single run in each of the fourth and fifth innings to regain its three-run lead and withstood a late push by the Sioux, who rallied again to within one run in the sixth inning, but Erica Denney held on for the win. Denney went the complete game limiting the Sioux to two earned runs off five hits and one walk.
UND 6, USD 5
After the first four innings went scoreless in the nightcap, North Dakota erupted for four runs in the top of the fifth inning before having to hold on for a 6-5 decision.
"Our offense did enough in game two to save our defense," Oakley said. "Credit to Erica Younan for a big hit."
With the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Younan connected for a grand slam over the right-field fence for her fourth home run of her senior campaign. She would finish the game 2-for-4 adding a double and another run.
The Coyotes turned an innocent single into their first run in the bottom half of the fourth inning. After a lead-off single, Katie Dinning was able to advance to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a throwing error. USD pulled within one in the next inning scoring two runs off three hits and one error.
The Sioux regained its three-run lead in the seventh inning as both Younan and Caralyn Chewning (Willamina, Ore.) scored.
This time it is was UND that had to endure a late rally attempt by the Coyotes who pushed a pair of runs across in their last set of at-bats but fell short.
Junior Michelle Frank (Chaska, Minn.) picked up her ninth win of the season pitching six innings while allowing only one earned run and collecting six strikeouts.