Jeff Kolpack, Published March 30 2012
Bison softball team settles for Summit League split
Nobody is going to hand the Bison the regular-season title.
“We kind of got bullied on our own field,” said NDSU senior Taylor Mortensen.
The kind of 5-1 beating Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne put on NDSU was seemingly as unlikely as winning Friday’s Mega Millions lottery drawing. The Bison just don’t lose like that at home very often.
“A reality check,” Mortensen said. “We need a little more determination.”
NDSU saw its nine-game winning streak and unbeaten start in the Summit end, which kept the Bison from scurrying ahead in the standings as conference season nears its halfway point.
The big game is today – the finale of the three-game series.
“I thought they played better than us the whole day,” said NDSU head coach Darren Mueller. “I think we were ready to play. We just didn’t play with the same kind of passion we did the last three weeks.”
NDSU fell to 7-1 in the league and 23-12 overall. IPFW is 8-3, 25-8. They arguably are the top two teams in the league and may see each other in the conference tournament at this rate.
“We have to learn from today; don’t dwell on it,” Mortensen said, “and come out and win the series.”
Mortensen cut a 2-0 second game deficit in half with a home run to left field in the bottom of the fourth.
But the Bison ran into trouble in the top of the fifth. Pitcher Krista Menke, in relief of starter Whitney Johnson after the first two batters reached base, walked one and hit another to force in a run. Ashleigh Bousquet’s two-run single made it 5-1.
In the opener, Menke struck out a season-high 11 batters to blank the Mastodons. She scattered five hits and walked only one.
The Bison got an RBI single by Katie Tamayo in the first, an unearned run in the second and Cristina Borek’s fourth home run of the season in the fourth.
Still, NDSU had just eight hits combined in both games and never did put together any kind of a major rally in either game.
“We just didn’t make good adjustments today,” Mueller said. “We were just bad at the plate.”
IPFW 000 000 0– 0 5 1
NDSU 110 100 x– 3 6 0
Flenniken and Mintari. Menke and Grable. W–Menke (14-6). L–Flenniken (7-4). HR–NDSU, Borek (4).
IPFW 200 030 0– 5 3 0
NDSU 000 100 0– 1 2 0
Cronin and Mintari. Johnson, Menke (5), Johnson (6) and Grable. W–Cronin (13-2). L–Johnson (9-6). HR–NDSU, Mortensen (5).
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia