Bison Softball Holds Off Northern Illinois, Blanks Loyola Marymount
Release: March 13, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Alyssa Reina and Amanda Grable each hit home runs as North Dakota State University defeated Northern Illinois 9-7, while Brandi Enriquez knocked in three runs and Whitney Johnson spun her fifth shutout of the season in the Bison 5-0 win over Loyola Marymount in women's college softball on Wednesday, March 13, at LMU's Smith Field.
North Dakota State (12-12) is scheduled to open Summit League play at the University of Nebraska Omaha (22-2) on Saturday, March 16, and Sunday, March 17. The three-game series was scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but was moved to snow covering the field and wet ground.
The first game victory over Northern Illinois was career win No. 400 for NDSU head coach Darren Mueller. Mueller is 401-234 in 12 years as head coach including four straight NCAA tournament appearances and Summit League tournament championships.
North Dakota State went up 4-0 in the top of the fourth inning on Reina's two-run home run down the left field line. It was Reina's third homer of the season.
However, Northern Illinois (7-14) trimmed the deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth on Erika Oswald's bases-clearing double to center.
The Bison used a five-run fifth inning break open the 4-3 game. Grable, who had a RBI double in the third inning, started things in the fifth with her second home run of the season, a solo shot to left field.
North Dakota State took advantage of a pair of hit batters, a wild pitch, bases loaded walk to Reina and a passed ball. Enriquez laced a two-run single to right center to put NDSU ahead 9-3.
The Huskies weren't done yet, scoring one run on Shelby Miller's triple in the bottom of the fifth. Amanda Sheppard's three-run home run to left field cut the NDSU lead to 9-7 in the bottom of the sixth.
Johnson entered in the bottom of the seventh. She struck out two and allowed one hit to pick up her second career save. Krista Menke (4-6) picked up the win, while Tabby Bayers also worked in relief.
Jessica Sturm (3-6), Allyson Hecht and Emily Norton pitched for Northern Illinois with Sturm picking up the loss.
Each team finished with 10 hits. Jenina Ortega went 3-for-4 with one run scored and a RBI. Enriquez and Grable each had a double and single.
Johnson (8-6) used the relief stint as a warm-up and limited Loyola Marymount (14-12) to four hits in the second game. She struck out nine and walked one in recording her 30th career shutout. With the win, Johnson moved to No. 3 all-time with 70 victories and passed Sara Bosch (69-25, 1996-98).
Enriquez, who finished the two-game set 4-for-8 with five RBI, came through on a pair of occasions against the host Lions.
NDSU jumped on top 1-0 on Ortega's RBI single in the first. Enriquez had a run-scoring single in the second put NDSU ahead 2-0, and then came through with a two-out, two-run single to extend the lead to 5-0 in the third.
Eight different players had a base hit as North Dakota State finished with 10 overall. Maritza Lopez-Portillo and Enriquez each had a pair of hits.