SOFTBALL: Beavers snap skid, split doubleheader with Wolves
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State softball team snapped a four-game losing streak in the first game of Friday afternoon’s doubleheader against Northern State before dropping the second contest to split with Northern State. The Beavers (21-13, 4-6 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) overcame an early 1-0 deficit to win game one 9-5 before losing a tight game two 3-2 at Chet Anderson Stadium.
“We’re hitting well,” BSU assistant coach Brittany Gomez said. “I think they were playing deep on us in the outfield, so we were just hitting it right to them. They’re still hitting the ball, which is good. I think we had our opportunities to be able to get runs and we didn’t get it done in the second game.”
In the early game, an RBI single handed the Wolves (11-21, 3-7 NSIC) an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Before NSU could even record an out, however, the Beavers had taken a 3-0 lead. Makayla Pagel drove in a pair of runs on a bases-clearing single before coming around to score. A groundout and a sacrifice fly extended the lead to 5-1 by the end of the frame.
Northern State scratched two runs back in the top of the fourth before Bemidji State put the game out of reach in the bottom half. Pagel’s RBI triple was followed by a sac fly, RBI single and a fielder’s choice that produced the inning’s four runs.
The Wolves added runs in the fifth and the sixth but it was too little, too late as BSU captured the 9-5 win.
Pagel finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a team-high four RBIs and two runs scored.
“It feels good. Anything you can do to help out the team,” the senior outfielder said. “It takes teammates getting on base, hitting them in to get those (RBIs).”
Stephi Dullum allowed just three runs on nine hits over four innings and struck out one to improve to 9-6 on the year.
The teams, again, combined for 19 hits in game two, though 15 runners were left stranded in the low-scoring contest.
Rachel Reinke belted a solo homer in the top of the first to give NSU a 1-0 lead for the second straight game.
Two innings later, Jessica Burlingame watched her home run sail over the center field fence for a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third.
The Beavers struggled to get hits off Merritt Mackenzie the rest of the way in her complete-game performance. The Wolves pitcher struck out five and held BSU to three hits over the final four innings.
Kaitlyn King’s RBI double tied the game in the fourth, and Sara Bendt scored the eventual game-winning run on an error in the sixth.
Kaidron McClafferty suffered her first loss of the season after pitching three innings in relief of Megan Pehrson. McClafferty (3-1) allowed just one run on six hits, but it proved to be the difference.
The Beavers will have a chance to rid themselves of the sour taste left by the loss when they host Minnesota State Moorhead for a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday at the Chet. BSU defeated the Dragons 6-4 in February in West St. Paul.
“We’ve played Moorhead a lot,” Pagel said. “We’ve played them in the fall. They’re a team that’s a rival for us, and it’s always a team that we want to sweep.”
Bemidji State 9, Northern State 5
NSU 100 211 0 -- 5-12-1
BSU 500 400 X -- 9-7-2
WP: St. Dullum (4 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K).
LP: Fisher (0+ IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 0 K).
Northern State 3, Bemidji State 2
NSU 100 101 0 -- 3-13-0
BSU 002 000 0 -- 2-6-1
WP: Merritt (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K).
LP: McClafferty (3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K).