FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- Summit League Softball MVP pitcher Paige Vargas of North Dakota State shut down the powerful South Dakota offense not once, but twice as the Bison defeated USD by the scores of 6-0 and 3-1 on Saturday, May 11, to claim the program's 10th league tournament championship and AQ bid into the NCAA 64-team field. The games were played before 341 fans at Tharaldson Park, who braved a 46-minute rain delay in the opener.
The NCAA Softball Selection Show is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT on Sunday, May 12, on ESPN2.
Vargas, a freshman right-hander from Mission Viejo, Calif., threw NDSU's final 21 innings and 319 pitches of the tournament. She went 3-0 with a 0.33 earned run average and a pair of shutouts that pushed her season total to eight.
Vargas recorded 19.1 straight scoreless innings in the tournament and became the third NDSU freshman to earn MVP honors joining Whitney Johnson (2011) and KK Leddy (2015), and the fourth freshman overall.
North Dakota State (42-14) provided Vargas plenty of backup on offense and defense. The first game she started with a 3-0 lead before taking the mound. Madyson Camacho tripled down the left field line to chase home Katie Shoultz. Vanessa Anderson laid down a sacrifice bunt and Camacho scored on obstruction. Cara Beatty singled to left and Anderson scored on an error.
The Bison had Camacho on third and Anderson on second when the rains came. When play resumed, Maddie Hansen walked and Beatty cranked a two-run double to right center to make it 5-0. Beatty, Shoultz and Camacho each had two hits as NDSU finished with seven.
Sam Koehn smacked a 1-2 pitch over the left center fence for a home run to lead off the seventh. It was Koehn's fourth homer of the season.
Vargas (17-4) fashioned a five-hitter, struck out one and issued no walks. Alexis Devers (13-14) and Sarah Lisko pitched for South Dakota with Devers taking the loss. Skylar Arellano had three of USD's five hits.
North Dakota State did its scoring early in the second game after Vargas wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first when Zoe Stavrou grabbed a curving line drive. Camacho singled through the left side with one out, stole second and scored on Hansen's two-out RBI single.
NDSU extended the lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third. Camacho singled home Montana DeCamp, stole second and scored on Beatty's RBI single. Camacho finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
South Dakota (33-26) cut the deficit to 3-1 in the top of the sixth. Lauren Eamiguel delivered a one-out single to score Dustie Durham, who led the Coyotes with two hits.
Vargas scattered six hits, struck out four and walked two in the complete game win. Durham (14-9) and Devers pitched for South Dakota with Durham picking up the loss.
Joining Vargas on the all-tournament team were left fielder Camacho (.375, 6x16, 3B, 2 RBI, 5 runs, 2 SB), catcher Maddie Hansen (.364, 4x11, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs, 5 BB, SB), first baseman Vanessa Anderson (.313, 5x16, 2B, HR, 3 runs, 5 RBI) and Katie Shoultz (.313, 5x16, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, 3 runs, 2 SB).
Summit League All-Tournament Team
Paige Vargas, North Dakota State – MVP
Madyson Camacho, North Dakota State
Maddie Hansen, North Dakota State
Katie Shoultz, North Dakota State
Vanessa Anderson, North Dakota State
Alexis Devers, South Dakota
Dustie Durham, South Dakota
Alyssa Fernandez, South Dakota
Jessica Rogers, South Dakota
Mallory McQuistan, South Dakota State
Kendra Conard, South Dakota State
Julia Andersen, South Dakota State
Abby Baez, Purdue Fort Wayne
Lauren Watson, Purdue Fort Wayne
Payton Abbott, Western Illinois
Jailene Carpio, North Dakota