UND collects first Summit League series win in wild Sunday affair

OMAHA, Neb. (UND Athletics) -- In a game that featured 30 combined runs, 40 total hits, and 432 pitches thrown by both sides, it was the University of North Dakota softball team who came out victorious in an 18-12 win over Omaha on Sunday afternoon.

The 13-inning affair, which saw UND (17-23, 2-1 Summit League) score 12 of its 18 runs in the second and 13th frames, gives the Fighting Hawks their first series win in Summit League play in program history.

The 30 combined runs between the two teams are the most in a single game since UND and New Mexico State totaled 32 runs in a 19-13 victory by the Aggies on Mar. 7, 2015. The 18 tallies by the Fighting Hawks are also the most since the then-Fighting Sioux scored 25 in a shutout win over Minnesota Crookston on Apr. 15, 2009 and the most in a conference game in program history.

Jailene Carpio continues to swing a hot bat for the Fighting Hawks at the top of the order, collecting a game-high five hits, driving in four runs, scoring twice herself, and drawing a walk in the win. The sophomore has boosted her hitting streak to six games, and has accounted for at least one RBI in four of those contests.

Victoria Minor was also clutch with a tetrad of runs batted in, three hits, a walk, and two runs scored. The junior, who also had four RBIs in the win over CSU Bakersfield on Mar. 12, drove home the eventual game-winning runs with a triple to right center in the top of the 13th.

Deja Miller and Jocelyn Kirk were the final pair of Hawks to drive in multiple runs, as Miller accounted for a trio of RBIs and Kirk brought home a pair. Miller’s single in the top of the 13th added the final piece of insurance in the game while Kirk’s single way back in the second inning gave UND its first lead of the game.

The pitching staff hung in there for UND, allowing 12 runs but also pitching out of multiple jams in the later innings to help the visitors to victory. Jannay Jones earned the start in the circle but was lifted after 5.1 innings of 12-hit, nine-run (seven earned) ball to be given the no-decision. Nikki Pica took the squad the rest of the way, surrendering only four hits, three runs, and walking five over 7.2 frames while striking out one to earn her fourth win of the season.

After Omaha (3-29, 1-5 Summit League) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after one, UND answered right back in the next half inning with a six-run outburst. After back-to-back walks with the bases loaded and a fielder’s choice knotted the score at three, Kirk slapped a single into left center on the first pitch she saw to bring home a pair and give the Fighting Hawks a 5-3 lead. UND added a sixth run when Minor followed with another base hit to left, pushing the advantage to three.

Omaha followed with a pair of tallies in the bottom of the second before the Hawks shot back with two runs in the top of the third and another run in the fourth. An RBI groundout by Marina Marzolino extended the lead back to a pair, 7-5, before Angel Love drove home Miller with an RBI single to stretch the advantage to a trio of runs once again. Carpio added a ninth strike with another single to left field, but the Mavericks tied the game at nine in the bottom of the sixth to send the game into extras.

UND struck first in extra innings, as Alyssa Rios gave the visitors a 10-9 lead with a sacrifice fly to score Kirk, however, Omaha rallied with an RBI double to right center to even the score at 10. Pica danced out of a jam in the eighth by catching a failed bunt attempt as well as starting an inning-ending double play to keep the game tied going into the ninth.

After a scoreless ninth, Carpio restored the lead for UND with a single to left to bring home Kayleen Schneider before Miller followed with an RBI triple to score Carpio to give the Hawks a 12-10 lead. As it seemed to go on Sunday, the Mavs responded right back with two in the bottom have to send the contest to an 11th inning.

It was a quiet 11th and 12th for both sides before UND exploded for six runs in the top of the 13th. After back-to-back singles and an error allowed the Hawks to load the bases with one out, Minor brought everyone home by blasting the first pitch she saw to right center for a 3-RBI triple to give UND a 15-12 lead. Schneider followed the junior with an RBI double to score Minor while Carpio and Miller added another pair of runs with a pair of singles to make it 18-12 with just three outs to get.

Pica mowed down the Mavericks in order to cement the win and give the Fighting Hawks the series win.

North Dakota will hit the road next weekend for a three-game series in Fort Wayne, Ind. as the Fighting Hawks will battle the Mastodons in a Summit League showdown.