Softball team suffers trio of losses

North Dakota women drop three home games last weekend, look to rebound this week

Freshman Shelby Hard gets hit with a softball while she is up to bat last weekend at Apollo Field. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/The Dakota Student.

UND was at the wrong end of a sweep this weekend against the Portland State Vikings.

North Dakota went in this weekend looking to continue its winning streak after sweeping South Dakota State the week before.

But Portland State looked ready to play after getting swept by Idaho State and having two games against University of Oregon Ducks cancelled. UND fell 14-5 and 8-0 in two games Friday, and wasn’t able to rebound Saturday, losing 15-5.

“Kind of the same thing all weekend,” UND coach Jordan Stevens said. “We were up in the game late and just could not get out of that inning. I think it was the fifth inning, we’re eight outs away from winning the ball game — that is a long time — but we let the game get out of control. We didn’t play very good defense and that led to our at bats. Somehow, someway, we’ve got to get tougher in those situations.”

The Vikings were due for runs as they only scored one run in three games against Idaho State. Unfortunately, UND fell victim to an offensive showcase.

The series started with a doubleheader Friday with UND losing 14-5. UND was leading 3-0 after three innings. However, Portland State quit as it chipped away, putting up eight runs in the sixth inning.

The second game went a little slower as it continued scoreless until Portland State scored the first run in the fourth and didn’t look back from there, winning by a score of 8-0.

On Saturday, Portland State started strong, scoring three runs in the first, but UND persevered, making it a one run game until the Vikings put up five in the fifth and went on to win 15-5.

There is a silver lining in the sweep to Portland State as Shelby Hard was able to keep her dominating performance at the plate going.

The freshman from Howell, Mich., was able to tally her 13th home run of the season against the Vikings Saturday to tie with the school’s record for most home runs in a single season.

Hard continues to have a memorable season as her batting average has stayed well over .300 as she leads the team with a .343 average.

The infielder also leads North Dakota in hits and RBIs.

Also behind the plate for UND is sophomore Jackie Lilek, who is having a much better season compared to her first year with a .339 and 23 RBIs.

North Dakota will look to get the ball rolling this week as it has a double header against South Dakota State and also will play a series against conference rival Southern Utah.

“We just need to go out and play the game,” Stevens said. “We let a lot of things cloud what we’re doing. We started thinking too much. We let one mistake turn into two, turn into three.

“We played really well against them last week. Hopefully, that confidence from that will carry into that, but we need to have some short term memory. If we do something not very good, we’ve got to be able to put it away and go back at it.”

Jack Harvey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].