CEDAR CITY, Utah-- Two homers staked visiting North Dakota to a lead that it never relinquished, winning the series finale, 6-4, at Southern Utah Saturday in Big Sky Conference play. It marked the fifth consecutive league series win for the Fighting Hawks dating back to last season and kept UND alone in first place in the conference standings at 7-2 this season.
Taylor Nadler's two-run blast boosted UND in front in the fourth, then Marina Marzolino's solo bomb tacked on an insurance run an inning later as Kaylin VanDomelen locked down her league-leading sixth save of the season in the win.
UND (21-19, 7-2 Big Sky) struck first in the second inning as Marzolino continued to swing a scorching-hot bat with a leadoff single to center. It would be one of her seven hits in the three-game series. She'd score after Dani Romero doubled to get her to third and she scampered home on VanDomelen's RBI groundout to make it 1-0.
Southern Utah (6-27, 3-6) answered, however, in the bottom of that frame when the Thunderbirds struck for a pair to claim the lead. UND got another run to tie it in the third with Nadler singling and later scoring on a Romero groundout.
Even after SUU plated a pair in the bottom of the fourth to inch back to 5-4, the Fighting Hawks once again added on runs. This time, Marzolino struck for her first dinger of the season and eighth of her career to get it back to a two-run game.
VanDomelen started the game, threw the first two innings, then handed the wheel over to Hannah Bergh in the third. Bergh navigated the Fighting Hawks through the middle innings to give them the lead before handing it back to VanDomelen to get the final out in the sixth and all three outs in the seventh to close it out.
VanDomelen's final line was 3.1 innings pitched with two earned runs and four strikeouts for the save. Bergh's line looked similar as she threw 3.2 innings of three-hit ball with two earned runs and three strikeouts for her 10th win of the season.
Three different UND players had two hits in the win: Nadler, Marzolino and Romero.
North Dakota has shifted its upcoming schedule and will remain in Utah, heading to Weber State for a mid-week series. The three-game set was originally planned for Grand Forks, N.D. on Friday and Saturday but will now be played at Wildcat Park on Tuesday and Wednesday. The series gets underway at 3:00 p.m. Central Tuesday with a doubleheader.
Notes: Nadler tallied her team-leading 10th multi-hit game in the win ... She also has a team-leading seven multi-RBI games ... Carpio has reached base in eight straight games ... UND's 21 wins this season marks the 11th 20-win season in school history and is just three shy of tying the overall record set back in 2000 (24-25) ... UND was scheduled to play at North Dakota State on Tuesday but it will be postponed (no makeup yet announced).