MADISON, S.D. - The Dakota State University softball team returned home for the first time this season Saturday at Thue Softball Complex. The Trojans dropped a pair of games to Northwestern (Iowa) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference by the scores of 5-0 and 9-5.
Dakota State suffered their third straight defeat and dropped their overall record to 8-6. Northwestern raised their record to 8-4.
Game 1 - Northwestern (Iowa) 5, Dakota State 0 - BOX SCORE
After two scoreless inning, Northwestern scored its first runs of the game in the top third inning. Jillian Kleinhesselink hit an RBI double to score Jordan Biehle. Kleinhesselink added a run by stealing for third base and advanced to home by DSU's defensive error to give the Red Raiders a 2-0 lead.
The Red Raiders added a run in the top fourth frame by DSU's passed ball for a 3-0 lead.
Keely Bracelin hit an RBI single in the top sixth inning to extend NWIA's lead to 4-0.
The Red Raiders opened with two straight doubles by Heidi Esdohr and Kara Nonnemacher in the top of the seventh inning. Nonnemacher hit an RBI double to score Esdohr to expand Northwestern's lead to 5-0.
The Trojans were limited to four hits in the game. Taylor Mackey, Brittany Hill, Emily Kulp and Jessica McLane each had a single. Mackey swiped one base.
Esdohr, Nonnemacher and Kleinhesselink each had a double for the Red Raiders. Lindsey Remien had two singles. Shelby Johnson added a single.
Northwestern recorded six stolen bases in the game compared to the Trojans' one.
Mackey (4-3) took the loss for DSU. She tossed a complete game and allowed five runs (two unearned) on nine hits. Mackey struck out seven NWIA's batters.
Bracelin (3-2) pitched a complete game victory for Northwestern. She gave up four hits and recorded five strikeouts.
Game 2 - Northwestern (Iowa) 9, Dakota State 5 - BOX SCORE
Northwestern exploded for four runs in the opening inning of the second game. Johnson recorded a 3-RBI double and Remien added an RBI single to give NWIA a 4-0 lead.
The Red Raiders added three runs in the top fourth frame to expand their lead to 7-0.
Dakota State ended their scoring drought in the bottom fourth inning. Stephanie Kruggel hit an RBI sacrifice fly to score Emily Kulp for DSU's first run of the game. Alisa Balesteri hit a 2-RBI triple to score McLane and Lexy Miller to trim the Red Raiders' lead to 7-3.
NWIA produced two runs in the top of the seventh inning. Alex Brower and Katie VandeVoort each hit an RBI single to give the Red Raiders a 9-3 lead.
Mackey recorded a two-out 2-RBI double in the bottom seventh inning for the Trojans, but the game ended when she was tagged out at third base.
Balesteri was perfect at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a triple, a single and two RBIs for DSU. Renaye Gamson added two singles. Mackey had a double and two RBIs. Miller recorded a single.
Johnson recorded three doubles and a single with five RBIs for Northwestern. VandeVoort added a double and a single. Esdohr had two singles and two runs scored.
The Trojans committed six errors in the game while the Red Raiders had one error.
Brittany Tebbe (2-1) recorded the loss for DSU. She worked the first three innings and gave up six runs (three unearned) on seven hits. Balesteri pitched three innings in relief and allowed two unearned runs on three hits. Mackey pitched the final inning and gave up one unearned run on two hits.
VandeVoort (4-1) notched the win for the Red Raiders. She tossed six innings and allowed three unearned runs on three hits. Brower worked the final inning and gave up two runs on three hits.
Dakota State looks to bounce back in the winning column next weekend. The Trojans travel to Omaha, Neb. for a four-game series with Saint Mary (Neb.). The doubleheader starts on Saturday, March 24 at 12 p.m.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director