T-Birds Split With Fighting Hawks With One To Play In North Dakota
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The Southern Utah softball team played their final doubleheader of the regular season Friday afternoon in Grand Forks, North Dakota against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The Thunderbirds out hit UND 25-16, but were only able to get one win, splitting the day with the host team.
“After a very long travel day I think we opened a little sluggish, but I am very proud of how we came out and battled in the second game,” head coach Tom Gray said. “We got two very good performances in the circle from Kirsten and Hanna and we hit the ball well, especially in game two. Now we need to come out and take another one tomorrow.”
Game One: SUU 0, UND 4
Kirsten Hostetler started in the circle for the Thunderbirds and with the exception of a rough first inning, the senior kept them in the game the whole way. The Fighting Hawks used four hits and two walks from Hostetler to score three runs in the first inning, making it 3-0 UND early.
Hostetler really settled in after the first inning allowing just three hits and one run the rest of the game. The run came in the fifth as the ‘Hawks hit back-to-back doubles to make it 4-0.
The Thunderbird offense matched the North Dakota offense in the hit column, but always seemed to come up just one big hit short. They used three base hits to load the bases in the second inning, but UND induced a double play to get out of it. The T-Birds had more baserunners in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, but could not score before the game ended in a 4-0 shutout for the home team.
Seniors Morgan Leonard and Megan Reed each had two hits in the loss and sophomore Nicole Simonson extended her hitting streak to twelve games with a single in the fifth inning.
Game Two: SUU 8, UND 5
After falling behind early in the second game of the day, the Thunderbirds were able to come alive in the second inning of play.
With the bases loaded in the top of the third inning SUU's Emily Sweet singled to center field to bring home the first Thunderbird run of the day, and it didn't stop there.
Payton Hart singled up the middle to score Reed from third to put SUU up 2-1 with two out, and Nicole Simonson double to center right behind her to score Leonard and Sweet to put SUU up 4-1. Hart scored on the final play of the inning leaving SUU with a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the third.
The Thunderbirds weren't done yet, as Kendall Kapitzke hit a double in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded to bring three more runs across home plate, putting the T-Birds up 8-1 after five innings of action.
UND was able to score four runs in the bottom of the sixth, but it wasn't enough as the Thunderbirds were able to take a 8-5 victory and leave the Apollo Sports Complex with a win in hand.
Hanna Wynn was credited with the win for the Thunderbirds. She is now 4-8 on the season.
The Thunderbirds and the Fighting Hawks will wrap up the three-game series (and the 2017 regular season) tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. Mountain time in Grand Forks.
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