Strong Pitching and Solid Defense Boosts Marauders to Victory Over Wolves

Photo courtesy of NSU Sports Information.

   The Northern State University softball team dropped a pair of close games at home April 12 to the University of Mary Marauders, falling 1-4 in game one and 0-2 in game two. The Wolves are now 18-24 overall and 8-10 in the conference, while the Marauders improve to 11-26 overall and 5-12 in the NSIC.
Game One
   Through the first three complete innings of action, both teams were unable to plate a run. It was not until the top of the fourth when the Marauders sparked an offensive threat by hitting a single up the middle with one out. Colleen Crutchfield walked with two outs to put a runner in scoring position for Kylie Alto. Alto ripped a single to center field to give the Marauders the 1-0 advantage. Northern State tallied a pair of base hits in the bottom of the inning, but were unable to convert with two outs.
   In the bottom of the fifth, Northern State senior, Brittney Lash, led off the inning with a walk. Lash advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Katie Dawson. At the plate next, Jess Vernon followed with a bunt single of her own to put runners on the corners. Freshman Courtney Sjerven singled through the left side to score Lash from third. The inning would end in a 1-1 tie.
   The University of Mary gained a base runner in the top of the sixth after Taylor Mendez was hit by a pitch. The junior was moved to second off of a sacrifice bunt, and advanced to third on a pass ball. With one out, Colleen Crutchfield lifted a sacrifice fly to score Mendez for the 2-1 Marauder lead.
   After a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth for the Wolves, the University of Mary tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh off of two hit batters and two singles through the infield. Northern State was unable to trigger a comeback in the bottom of the inning and the game would end 1-4 in favor of the Marauders.
   The Wolves recorded five hits in 24 at bats in the contest, off the bats of Kalie Maiden, Rachel Albright, Macey Engel, Vernon and Sjerven.
   Jamie Fisher was handed the loss from the mound, falling to 6-11 in the 2016 season. Fisher held the Marauders to three earned runs in seven complete innings pitched. The freshman collected three strikeouts, allowing just six hits.
Game Two
   After four innings of play, both teams were slow to get the bats going.
   The Wolves were held to just one hit off the bat of Engel, and the Marauders recorded three hits, unable to advance a runner past second base.
   The University of Mary became a threat in the top of the fifth as Kylie Alto led off the inning with a single down the left field line.
   A sacrifice bunt advanced Alto to second and hit batter put runners on first and second for the Marauders. A groundout advanced the two runners to second and third for Demaree Rodriguez, who doubled to left center to put U-Mary up 2-0.
   The Northern State Wolves tallied two hits in the bottom of the sixth but were unable to tally with a run. The seventh inning remained scoreless for both teams, and the Marauders would go on to clinch the sweep with a 2-0 victory in game two.
   Missy Elkins held the University of Mary to just two earned runs in seven complete innings pitch. The junior allowed 10 hits with two strikeouts from the mound. Elkins is now 10-11 on the year.

NSU Sports Information