Updated: Friday, 11 May 2012, 9:55 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 11 May 2012, 9:55 PM EDT
The IPFW softball team advances to the Summit League Championship after splitting a pair of games on the second day of the 2012 Championships, falling to North Dakota State 2-1 in the opener, before winning the nightcap 9-0 over UMKC.
The split sees IPFW record improve to 44-13 on the season, while North Dakota State improves to 36-19, and UMKC goes to 27-30. The Mastodons will need a two-game sweep of the Bison for the Championship tomorrow.
The opener saw the teams trade scoreless innings in the first before freshman first baseman Dani Pugh hit her sixth home run of the season over the wall in left-center field, giving IPFW a 1-0 advantage early.
The 'Dons would hold onto their lead until the fourth inning, when the Bison got a leadoff double from Cristina Borek, who was advanced to third on a fly ball to right field, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field. The next batter for NDSU singled into the gap between shortstop and third base, and the Mastodon shortstop's throw went wide, allowing Alex Sobrero to advance to second. NDSU second baseman Brandi Enriquez followed with a bunt single, and the throw from catcher Audrey Mintari went wide, allowing Sobero to score what would amount as the winning run.
The Mastodons put two runners on in the sixth inning, and a Mackenzie Ritsema double put another runner in scoring position in the seventh, but both times the 'Dons came up empty as NDSU held on for the 2-1 win, advancing to the Championship Game of the 2012 Summit League Tournament.
Ashleigh Bousquet was 2-for-3 in the game, with Brittany Kachur, Pugh, and Ritsema each picking up one hit. Pugh had the team's run and RBI, as Courtney Cronin fell to 18-3 on the season by scattering four hits, giving up one earned run, and striking out two in the loss.
NDSU's Borek picked up two of the team's four hits in the game, while Brea Konz had the team's only RBI. Krista Menke, the 2012 Summit League Pitcher of the Year, gave up five hits and one run while striking out eight and walking two, improving to 24-10 on the year.
In the Mastodons' first elimination game of the tournament, IPFW jumped out quickly scoring a run when Cronin drew a bases-loaded walk, pushing home Franklin; however, back-to-back strikeouts kept the bases loaded as the inning ended.
An inning later the 'Dons got an RBI double from Kachur, chasing home Franklin for the second time in the game, before Alex Bousquet drove in herself and Kachur with her ninth home run of the season, this one clearing the wall in right field, giving IPFW a 4-0 lead.
The Mastodons bats went quiet for the next three innings, before erupting for five runs in the top of the sixth, the first run coming on a fielding error by the UMKC left fielder, beofre Kachur singled home Mintari three batters later. With the bases loaded Alex Bousquet picked up RBI's three and four in the game, before Dani Pugh was hit with the bases loaded to drive home the ninth and final run of the game.
The 'Roos threatened in the bottom of the sixth, putting runners on the corners with no outs, but relief pitcher Megan Flenniken settled down, getting an infield pop-up, a line out to center field, and a ground out to third base to end the game.
Kachur, Alex Bousquet, and Audrey Mintari each had two hits in the game, with Alex Bousquet driving in four, and Kachur two. Larissa Franklin scored three times, as Alex Bousquet crossed the plate twice.
Miranda Kramer got the win, improving to 15-4 on the year, striking out six in five innings of work, allowing just two hits in the effort. Flenniken in relief gave up a hit and walked one, as none of UMKC's three hits left the infield.
UMKC's Kaelene Curry had two hits for UMKC, as Deanna Friese picked up the loss, striking out two in five and a third inning of work, walking three and giving up nine hits and nine runs.
The Mastodons now will face off against the Bison in the Championship Game, with first pitch of the opener to come at 2 p.m. and an IPFW win would force a one-game playoff at 4:40 p.m. EST.
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