Softball drops series to Bison in Fargo

South Dakota State softball dropped three games to the defending champion North Dakota State Bison over the weekend in Fargo, N.D. after a series win against Omaha had them at .500 just one week ago.

The Jackrabbits’ best chance of the weekend came in the opening game Saturday when Jordyn Sturgeon doubled in two runs in the second inning for an early lead.

Ultimately, NDSU prevailed 8-4 in the game, with the Jackrabbits taking advantage of eight walks to score their four runs despite Sturgeon having the only hit.

The Bison continued their pitching and hitting dominance into the final two games of the series, taking Saturday’s second game 11-3 and Sunday’s game 9-0.

“They are good,” said Head Coach Krista Wood about NDSU. “We just did not play very well this weekend. We didn’t play very good defense. At times we pitched well and at other times we didn’t. We batted about .100 on the weekend. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”

One of the few bright spots of the weekend was Devan Larson belting her ninth home-run of the year during the second game. Larson’s next home-run will tie the single season school record.

“I think she’s getting a better mental game,” Wood said of Larson. “She’s going in with a good approach. She swings hard. She’s a strong kid. She’s come up huge in big situations for us and her mentality isn’t to hit home runs – it’s to hit line drives and hit for power.”

SDSU will not have long to dwell on the weekend as they plunge into a six-day stretch from April 14-19 during which they play seven games, beginning with nonconference games against North Dakota and Creighton on the April 14 and 15 and finishing with a weekend series during which they will host Summit League foe Western Illinois.

Wood said it is a big week for the Jacks and enjoys the midweek non-conference games.

“It’s good to play midweek to keep your hitters still seeing live pitching, to keep your pitchers throwing live, so it’s always good to have those midweek games,” Wood said. “The more experience you have the better you can get.”

Currently sitting at 3-6 in conference, the Jackrabbits have a favorable schedule going forward. After Western Illinois, also 3-6 in league play, comes to town April 18 and 19, the Jacks host last place Fort Wayne April 25 and 26 for senior day, before finishing up on the road against second place University of South Dakota May 2 and 3.

For Wood and SDSU softball, the goal is to take advantage of the next couple weeks for a strong finish in league play.

“We’re trying to finish fourth, fifth in the conference instead of last where we were picked,” Wood said. “It’s very attainable to try to win the next three series, but we got to get our A-game on, we got to work together as a team and we have to start pitching the ball well again and playing solid defense and making things work offensively.”