VERMILLION, S.D.—North Dakota State senior catcher Jenina Ortega hit two home runs and the Bison pitching staff allowed five hits during a doubleheader sweep of South Dakota Friday at Nygaard Field. NDSU (29-15, 12-3 Summit) won game one 3-2 and the nightcap 10-1. Game three of the series starts at noon Saturday.
Ortega hit a two-run homer in the first inning of game one and a grand slam in the last inning of game two. It was her sixth and seventh home runs of the season. She reached base five times in eight at bats and scored three times Friday.
Freshman pitcher Katie Thun (3-2) didn’t allow a hit in 3 2/3 innings of relief to earn the win in game one. Junior thrower Krista Menke (22-6) got the final out of game one, then pitched a three-hitter in game two. She struck out 11 batters in 10 1/3 innings.
Ortega’s homer was one of two hits surrendered by USD freshman hurler Rachel Cue (17-8) in the opener. Cue retired 10 straight to end the game and allowed five base runners in her complete-game effort. A wild pitch scored the go-ahead run with two outs in the fourth inning.
First baseman Yvon Minogue had two of South Dakota’s five hits. Her two-run single in the third inning of the opening game tied the game at 2-2. Minogue doubled and scored on a Morgan Hancock double in the fourth inning of game two that cut North Dakota State’s lead to 5-1.
The wins put North Dakota State in position to capture their third consecutive Summit League Championship. The losses could lock in South Dakota (28-19, 9-7) as the three seed of next week’s Summit League Tournament. A Fort Wayne victory against IUPUI later tonight would make it official. Should that be the case, the Coyotes would play the opening game of the tournament against South Dakota State at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Fargo, N.D.
South Dakota honored its four seniors in a ceremony in between games. Lindsey Boyd (Westminster, Colo.), Kassie Loe (Lennox, S.D.), Christine Broders (Yankton, S.D.) and Katelyn Wudel (Elmhurst, Ill.) were the honorees.
Courtesy: USD Bryan Boettcher