BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University softball team was dealt a pair of late-inning, one-run losses against the University of North Dakota in its regular season finale on Tuesday evening. The Fighting Sioux scored a run in the seventh inning of the opener for a 3-2 win, and a run in the eighth inning of the nightcap for a 5-4 victory.
Bemidji State got on the board first in the opener, taking advantage of a Sioux miscue in the field for a 1-0 lead. In the first inning, leadoff hitter Katie Prettyman (So., OF, International Falls, Minn.) drew a walk and then moved to second on a single by Bridget Smith (So., INF, Burnsville, Minn.). Later in the inning, with two outs Jamie Docken (Jr., OF, Owatonna, Minn.) popped a ball up over the pitcher’s mound, but defensive confusion and the wind caused Docken to reach safely and Prettyman to motor around from second.
BSU starter Lindsey Imhof (Sr., P, Littlefork, Minn.), playing in the final home series of her career, held the Sioux scoreless until UND pieced together two hits around a walk and a BSU error to plate two runs for a 2-1 lead.
The Beavers responded with the game’s tying run in the sixth inning. Mara Johnson’s two-out single kept the inning alive. She moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Head coach Shane Veenker brought in pinch-running specialist Jamie Ford (Fr., OF, Edina, Minn.) for Johnson and she later scored on an RBI single by Amy Klaers (So., INF, Elk River, Minn.).
The BSU lead was short-lived as UND’s Lindsey Gaustad singled home Jessica Price from second base to take a 3-2 lead. The Beavers were set down in order in the bottom of the seventh to complete the UND win.
Imhof pitched a complete game for BSU and turned in solid start allowing three runs (one earned) on 10 hits, while striking out four and walking three.
In the night cap, the Bemidji State bounced back from a blown 3-1 lead to tie the game at 4-4 before the Sioux got a run in extra innings to take home their second victory of the day.
The Beavers got a run in the first inning on a single from Johnson, and two more in the second on a two-RBI single by Ashley Leopold (Fr., INF, Afton, Minn.) to take a 3-1 lead.
North Dakota stole the lead back with three runs in the third off of the Beavers’ starter Kristen Paine (Jr., P, Chisholm, Minn.). The Sioux played small-ball in the inning, manufacturing runs with a sacrifice fly, a bunt, and a bases loaded groundout for a 4-3 lead.
After a scoreless fourth, Bemidji State evened the scoreboard at 4-4. Leopold started the inning off with a triple to the left-centerfield gap and later scored on a wild pitch.
The sixth and seventh innings went scoreless as Paine seemed to be shutting down the UND offense with four straight scoreless innings. But, control problems in the eighth caused the winning run with a bases loaded walk that forced in Michelle Mowry from third.
Paine pitched a complete game going all eight innings and giving up five runs (five earned) on 11 hits, while walking three.
Bemidji State (10-26; 4-14 NSIC) head to Marshall, Minn., this weekend for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament hosted by Southwest Minnesota State University. The seventh-seeded Beavers will take on second-seeded Winona State in the first round of the tournament. The Warriors beat BSU by scores of 5-3 and 3-2 in their meetings earlier this season.