ATHENS, GA. — The Fighting Hawks softball team went 2-2 this past week with a sweep of East Carolina, while dropping two games to No. 18 Georgia in the UGA classic.
The Hawks first game came against the No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs. The game started off slow with neither team scoring in the open innings. Georgia struck first, scoring a run in the bottom of the third on a pop fly. The Bulldogs continued to score in the following inning, putting up two homers and tacking on 4 more runs to lead 5-0 going into the fifth frame. UGA added one more in the bottom of the fifth, making their lead 6-0.
North Dakota scored their first run in the top of the sixth. Madison Pederson homered down the leftfield line to reduce the Hawk’s deficit to 5. It wasn’t enough however, as the Bulldogs tacked on another run in the bottom of the inning to be up 7-1 with UND being unable to respond in the top of the next inning giving UGA the win 7-1.
The Fighting Hawks’ Nikki Pika was handed the loss, pitching 3.1 innings giving up 4 hits and 5 earned runs before being replaced by Lauren Field. Georgia’s Alley Cutting got the win, pitching 4 innings with 7 strikeouts and no earned runs. This loss put UND at 6-12.
The Fighting Hawks next opponent was the East Carolina Pirates. They found themselves in an early deficit when the Pirates picked up a run in the first inning. UND wouldn’t respond until the third frame, when Madi Moore doubled down the leftfield line, driving in two runs to put North Dakota up 2-1.
The Hawks tacked on another run in the fourth when McKenzie Ryan doubled into right field, driving in Ashlynn Uvila to put UND up 3-1. ECU responded in the bottom of the fourth, cutting North Dakota’s lead to one but it wasn’t enough. The last three innings were scoreless, giving UND the win 3-2.
UND’s Adrianna Dilal got the win, pitching 6.1 innings, yielding 8 hits, and allowing only 2 runs. The Pirate’s Erin Poepping was handed the loss, pitching 3.1 innings, giving up 7 hits and 3 earned runs. This win put UND at 7-12.
North Dakota followed their win with a rematch with Eastern Carolina. UND grabbed the lead early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. ECU didn’t respond until the third inning, picking up a run to cut their deficit to 2. The Pirates tacked on another run on a pop fly in the fourth to make it a 1-run game.
Eastern Carolina tied the game in the fifth on a fielding error from Jocelyn Kirk. The game stayed tied until the bottom of the seventh. UND’s Chevelle Sartin hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to drive in Alexys Compos to score the winning run.
UND’s Jannay Jones had a stellar performance, pitching the entire game and allowing only 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and 4 strikeouts. This puts her at 4-3 on the year and UND at 8-12.
UND’s final game came as a rematch against the Georgia Bulldogs. UGA again struck first, picking up two unearned runs in the bottom of the second inning on a pair of fielding errors. The Bulldogs put up another run in the third on a sacrifice fly and scored again in the sixth on a solo homerun.
The Hawks were kept scoreless the whole evening and fell to Georgia 4-0. UND’s Lauren Field was handed the loss, allowing 4 hits and 3 runs. This loss put North Dakota 8-13 overall.
The Fighting Hawks will retake the diamond next Saturday against Conference rival UNO. Live coverage can be found on the Summit League Sports Network.
Alex Mailes is a Dakota Student Sports Writer. He can be reached at [email protected]