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Chris Murphy, Published May 08 2014

Bison fall to Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis at Summit softball tourney

FARGO – According to Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis softball coach Amanda Rivera, freshman Taylor Chitwood isn’t much of a talker.

“Chitwood is a special kid,” Rivera said. “She doesn’t say much, but she’s a worker. She’s a good kid that you want up in those big situations, and it’s fun to see her shine.”

She spoke softly and carried a big stick Thursday at Ellig Sports Complex, as No. 4-seeded IUPUI defeated top-seeded North Dakota State 15-8 in the Summit League tournament. Chitwood was 5-for-5 with six RBIs and a two-run homer in the top of the seventh that shut the door.

“Our whole offense is about hitting good pitches and being on time, and the last two games we’ve been doing a good job of that,” Rivera said. “There’s something special going on right now.”

NDSU will have to beat the University of South Dakota today at 12:30 p.m. if the Bison want to stay alive.

“We still got a day to play,” NDSU coach Darren Mueller said. “(IUPUI) is hot right now. Maybe we can get hot tomorrow. It’s that time of the year where you just have to put it all on the line.”

NDSU starting pitcher Krista Menke came into Thursday’s game with a 1.67 ERA in 176 innings on the season. She picked a tough day to struggle, as she gave up seven earned runs on five walks and seven hits in four innings.

“She had her worst game on the worst day for us,” Mueller said. “She had one pitch that was consistent. Against a good-hitting team, you can’t just rely on one pitch. She wasn’t hitting her spots like she usually does.”

Chitwood opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run double. Before the bottom of the second inning began, the rain came and a nearly three-hour rain delay followed. Rivera told her girls to stay focused.

“I told them to have fun and keep fighting,” Rivera said. “Every single team in this conference tournament is great, so we have to be a little more gritty and tougher sometimes. The work they put in all year is for right now.”

NDSU and IUPUI would swap runs before the Jaguars used a three-run fourth to make it a 6-1 game.

NDSU answered with back-to-back solo homers from Jenina Ortega and Amanda Grable and an RBI single from Brandi Enriquez in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to 6-4. With two outs and the bases loaded in bottom of the fifth, Jackie Stifter singled home two runs and Grable came home on a wild throw to third to give the Bison a 7-6 lead.

“We battled back,” Mueller said. “It was a back-and-forth slugfest. I was proud of the effort that we used to keep battling.”

IUPUI came right back in the top of the sixth with an RBI single from Chitwood and a two-out, three-run homer from Maggie Good to take a 10-7 lead.

NDSU would get one back in the bottom of the sixth, but the Bison left the bases loaded in the inning and IUPUI answered with five runs in the top of the seventh to seal it.

IUPUI 201 304 5–15 13 2

NDSU 010 331 0– 8 11 2

Menke, Thun (4), Menke (6), Bayers (7) and Ortega. Oppenhuis, Vodde (4), Oppenhuis (6) and Dillon. W-Oppenhuis. L-Menke. HR-NDSU, Ortega, Grable. IUPUI, Good, Chitwood, Lawrence.

Fort Wayne 9,

South Dakota 8

Larissa Franklin batted

2-for-4 with a home run as Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne upended South Dakota Thursday.

Allie Daly and Katie Dinning each had two hits for USD.

South Dakota hit four home runs in the game.

USD 002 114 0– 8 7 2

IPFW 010 025 1– 9 6 0

Cue, Frain (7) and Daly. Kramer, Flenniken (5) and Pugh, Mintari W–Flenniken. L–Cue. HR–USD, Boyd; Dinning; Daly; Cochran. IPFW, Franklin; Bousquet.


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Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548