NDSU Captures Record Fourth-Straight League Softball Tournament Title
(2) IPFW 5, (1) North Dakota State 0 - Game One | Box Score
(1) North Dakota State 8, (2) IPFW 0 - Game Two | Box Score
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - North Dakota State won its record fourth-straight league tournament title defeating IPFW, 8-0 in six innings in game two Saturday afternoon at the Missouri 3&2 Fields. IPFW won the first game, 5-0 to force a second championship game.
The Bison became the first team in league history to win four consecutive tournament crowns and are the first team since 2006 to win both the regular season title and the tournament title.
NDSU (37-20) awaits its NCAA Tournament match-up as the the tournament pairings will be announced Sunday at 9 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU.
IPFW ends its record-breaking season with a 45-14 record.
In the first championship game, IPFW got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second as back-to-back singles from Mackenzie Ritsema and Audrey Mintari put runners on the first and second with one out. Then a single to left center by Larissa Franklin scored Ritsema, giving the Mastodons a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, IPFW left fielder Brittany Kachur made a diving catch to steal a double from NDSU's Jamie Gay. Then with two outs Kayti Hanson drew a walk and Franklin recorded an infield single but the Bison were kept scoreless.
The Mastodons struck again in the bottom of the fifth scoring four runs on three hits and a NDSU error. Alex Bousquet led-off with a double to center field followed by a single from Ashleigh Bousquet to put runners on the corners. Courtney Cronin then reached on a fielder's choice as Alex and Ashleigh scored to make it a 3-0 game. Dani Pugh followed that up with single through the left side to drive home Cronin extending IPFW's lead, 4-0. The Mastodons scored their final run on a NDSU error, taking a 5-0 lead.
In the top of the seventh, NDSU threatened and was able to put runners in scoring position but two diving catches from IPFW centerfielder Franklin kept the Bison from scoring to secure the win and force a second championship game.
IPFW's Miranda Kramer (16-4) earned the win, her fourth shutout of the season, with five strike outs, while allowing three walks and three hits. The Mastodons had two players record multi-hit games as Ashleigh Bousquet led the way going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
The tables were turned in the game two as NDSU out hit IPFW 14-2 with five Bison recording multi-hit games.
NDSU struck right away on consecutive two-out singles by Katie Tamayo and Cristina Borek to give the Bison a 1-0 lead.
IPFW's lead-off Franklin started off the bottom of the first with an infield single, but NDSU retired the next three batters to hold on to its 1-0 lead.
The Bison bats stayed hot scoring two runs on three hits in the second as back-to-back NDSU singles led to runs scored once again. Alex Sobrero and Brandi Enriquez each recorded base hits and Jenina Ortega followed them up with a sacrifice fly to give NDSU a 3-0 lead.
Neither team scored in the third, fourth or fifth innings, but NDSU kept their offense going with one hit in the fourth and two in the fifth. IPFW's final hit of the game came in the bottom of the fifth as Hanson singled up the middle with two outs, but the Mastodons remained scoreless.
NDSU put together another big inning in the sixth, scoring five runs on six hits and an IPFW error. Four-straight singles to open the inning led to two runs. With one out and runners on first and second a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance before a Taylor Mortensen sacrifice fly extended NDSU's lead to 6-0. Two more singles and an IPFW error accounted for the final three runs, giving the Bison an 8-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
With one out in the sixth, Alex and Ashleigh Bousquet both drew walks to keep the Mastodons alive, but Whitney Johnson and the NDSU defense retired the next two batters to give the Bison an 8-0 victory in six innings.
Johnson (13-9) recorded the two-hit victory for NDSU with four strikeouts and two walks.
Offensively eight-of-nine NDSU players recorded at least one hit with five players recording multi-hit games. Konz, the championship tournament MVP, led the Bison offense, hitting 3-for-4 with a RBI, while Brandi Enriquez was a perfect 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a RBI.
Softball Championship All-Tournament Team
Heather Black, Southern Utah, P
Ashleigh Bousquet, IPFW, 3B
Kaelene Curry, UMKC, SS
Brandi Enriquez, North Dakota State, 2B
Larissa Franklin, IPFW, OF
Whitney Johnson, North Dakota State, P
Brittany Kachur, IPFW, LF
Brea Konz, North Dakota State, SS - MVP
Miranda Kramer, IPFW, P
Tessa Loewen, Southern Utah, OF
Krista Menke, North Dakota State, P
Jenina Ortega, North Dakota State, C
Anna Sokolik, UMKC, OF
Megan Ussary, UMKC, 3B