The Northeastern State softball team earned a split against non-conference opponent Minnesota-Duluth Wednesday afternoon at RiverHawks Park.
The Bulldogs (13-10) took the first game of the day by a 9-3 margin, and the RiverHawks (20-8) picked up the 3-1 win in the series finale.
“That was a really good team we just played out of the Northern Sun, and we knew that coming in,” NSU coach Clay Davis said. “It was a good experience to match up with them and see where we are as a program as we continue to strive to reach new heights.”
First game: UMD 9, NSU 3
After two scoreless opening innings, the Bulldogs used a four-run third to pull ahead 4-0. Northeastern State brought three home in the bottom of the third inning to fall one run shy of UMD and trail 4-3. Scoring first for NSU was freshman Lauren
Flanary on a single shot down the left field line from freshman Madison Boyd. Senior Megan Robison brought home the other two runners, Boyd and senior Madison Reed on a single to left field.
UMD tacked on five more runs in the top of the fourth frame to improve the lead to 9-3.
The RiverHawks were unable to score another run for the remainder of the seven-inning game and fell to the Bulldogs 9-3.
Flanary and Robison were both 2-for-3 to lead the RiverHawks at the plate. Robison finished with two runs batted in. NSU was outhit 12-7 in the series opener.
Sophomore Kayce Wooldridge (9-4) took the loss in the circle after throwing the opening 3.2 frames. She allowed 10 hits and nine runs (five earned). Senior Kylee
Cole came on in relief and threw the final 3.1 innings. She allowed only two hits and did not concede a walk or run.
Second game: NSU 3, UMD 1
Northeastern State came out in the home half of the first frame and plated two runs to take the early advantage over the visitors. Flanary scored the first run after reaching base on a walk. An infield single from Robison scored Reed. Reed also reached base on a walk.
The lead remained in the RiverHawks’ favor throughout the rest of the game, but the Bulldogs were able to cut the lead in half with a single run in the fourth.
NSU plated an insurance run in the in the sixth to move ahead 3-1 when freshman Krysti Cearley drove home junior Alyssa Aguilar. Aguilar reached base on a walk.
Junior Laura Fleck (4-1) tabbed the win in the circle after throwing a complete game.
“It was nice for us to bounce back after that tough loss. Laura Fleck was fantastic in the circle for us,” Davis said. “She only allowed four hits over seven innings and struck out six. That is just a big time effort.
She allowed only four hits and one run, while striking out six and not issuing a walk.
The Bulldogs outhit the RiverHawks 4-3.
Northeastern State will host a doubleheader with Fort Hays State at noon March 21 at RiverHawks Park.