NDSU Softball splits with South Dakota

FARGO, N.D. (www.gobison.com) -- Krista Menke tossed her second one-hitter of the season as North Dakota State University defeated the University of South Dakota by the score of 9-2 in the first game, but the Coyotes came back to post a 4-2 win in the second to split a Summit League doubleheader played on a chilly Friday, April 3, before 152 spectators at the Ellig Sports Complex.

NDSU (28-7, 6-2 Summit League) and South Dakota State (11-19-1, 3-2 Summit League) are scheduled to close out the league three-game series with a single-game at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 4.

Menke, a 5-foot-11 senior from Friend, Neb., allowed only Allie Daly's two-run home run to left center in the first inning to South Dakota to record the sixth one-hitter in her career. She walked three batters in the second, sixth and seventh innings.

Menke, who improved to 20-2, retired 12 batters in a row between the second and sixth innings. She recorded nine of her final 10 strikeouts over the last six frames to reach double-figures for the 17th time this season and 24th time in her career.

North Dakota State trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the first inning. Alex Sobrero led off with a double, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on an error.

The Bison took the lead for good at 3-2 with a pair of runs in the second inning. Jackie Stifter led off with a walk, advanced to third on Jenna Isbel's bunt single and error. Stifter scored on Sobrero's RBI single to left field. Isbel moved to third and scored on Cheyenne Garcia's ground out to second.

NDSU extended the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when Logan Moreland and Garcia hit back-to-back home runs with one out in the frame. Moreland's shot cleared the left field fence for her third homer of the season, while Garcia hit a solo blast to center for her team-leading ninth home run of the season.

North Dakota State tacked on a single run in the fifth to make it 6-2. Maritza Lopez-Portillo led off with a single through the right side. Lopez-Portillo advanced to second on Isbel's sacrifice bunt and scored on an error.

The Bison closed out the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Amanda Grable delivered a bases-loaded base hit up the middle to drive in a pair. Lopez-Portillo knocked in the third run with a sacrifice fly.

Garcia went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Sobrero and Moreland each added a pair of hits.

Rachel Cue (5-12) and Megan Green pitched for South Dakota with Cue taking the loss. The pair combined to walk four and strike out one.

In the second game, Morgan Hancock hit a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the third inning to break a 1-1 tie and lead South Dakota to the win. USD pitcher Madison Frain (5-7) threw a four-hitter for the Coyotes. Frain struck out three and walked two.

The teams traded runs in the first inning. Allie Daly stroked a RBI single for the Coyotes in top half of the inning, while the Bison tied the game when Moreland scored on a double steal with teammate Alyssa Reina.

NDSU cut the deficit to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Garcia reached on an infield single, moved to second on a walk to Grable and scored on Lopez-Portillo's base hit up the middle. The Bison loaded the bases with one out, but a force out and strike out ended the rally. Garcia ended the second game 2-for-2.

North Dakota State did threaten in the fifth and sixth innings, but South Dakota and Frain worked out of trouble including a double play in the sixth.

Jacquelyn Sertic (8-5) and Menke pitched for the Bison with Sertic picking up the loss. Sertic allowed six hits, struck out one and walked one in the 4-1/3 innings. Menke struck out three, walked one and allowed no hits over the final 2-2/3 innings.