FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) – North Dakota State bounced back from a 10-1 five-inning loss to South Dakota with a 5-0 shutout over South Dakota State to advance to the Summit League Championship game for the 11th straight season on Friday, May 10, before 336 spectators at Tharaldson Park.
North Dakota State (40-14) will meet South Dakota (33-24) at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 11, in the championship game. The Bison need to win to force a second championship game. NDSU reached 40 wins for the 10th time in program history and first time since 2015.
In the elimination game, North Dakota State freshman righty Paige Vargas and SDSU's Kendra Conard were dealing in the circle for the first three innings of the game. Vargas worked out of a bases loaded jam with two outs in the bottom of the third with a strikeout.
NDSU catcher Maddie Hansen broke the deadlock in the top of the fourth inning, connecting on a 3-1 pitch for a line drive home run over the left field fence with two outs. It was the team-leading 12th home run of the season for Hansen.
North Dakota State scored four times in the top of the fifth. Stephanie Soriano led off with a single, moved to second on Zoe Stavrou's sacrifice bunt and then to third on Montana DeCamp's fly ball to right. Katie Shoultz singled to shortstop to score Soriano. Vanessa Anderson followed with a shot to left center that scored two. During that sequence, Madyson Camacho scored on an error.
Sam Koehn had a double and single, while Soriano had two hits for NDSU. Caleyn Christiancy had a double for SDSU.
Vargas (15-4) shut the door to complete her seventh shutout of the season. Vargas allowed six hits, struck out five and walked one. Conard (17-5) took the loss. Conard walked two and struck out one.
In the opener, South Dakota exploded for five runs of the top of the first inning and never looked back. Jessica Rogers delivered the big blow, a three-run home run to center field. The Coyotes tacked on four runs in the top of the third to extend the lead to 9-0. Durham completed the game 3-for-3 with five RBI and two runs scored, while Lauren Eamiguel had two hits. USD outhit the Bison 11-2.
North Dakota State averted the shutout when Anderson doubled home DeCamp in the bottom of the third.
Alexis Devers (13-13) pitched a two-hitter for South Dakota with three strikeouts and three walks. KK Leddy (22-8) picked up the loss. Leddy had two walks and one strikeout.