Bison shut out Coyotes in Summit League softball showdown

VERMILLION, S.D.—North Dakota State isn't ready to pass the torch just yet. Its two pitchers, KK Leddy and Paige Vargas, tossed a pair of 1-hit shutouts in blanking South Dakota 2-0 in eight innings and 10-0 in five innings in a Summit League doubleheader Friday at Nygaard Field.

The Coyotes (30-20, 11-3 Summit) entered with 11 wins in their last 12 games and were 11-0 at home this season, but that didn't seem to impress the defending champions. A pair of singles – one to Jamie Holscher in the first inning of the opener and one to Ashtyn Blakeman in the second inning of the nightcap – was all they allowed while waiting for their offense to produce. USD had been shutout just four times prior all season.

Alexis Devers matched Leddy for all of seven innings in game one. But back-to-back singles by Montana DeCamp and Katie Shoultz set the table in the top of the eighth for North Dakota State (32-12, 10-1) and catcher Maddie Hanson broke the tie with a sacrifice fly to right field. Cara Beatty drove in one more for insurance to make it 2-0.

Leddy (17-7), who threw a no-hitter against South Dakota State last week, watched a long fly ball off the bat of Alyssa Fernandez get caught near the wall in left to end the bottom of the sixth. She then blew threw the heart of the Coyotes' lineup in the seventh and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth to get the win. She faced two more than the minimum, striking out six and walking two.

Hansen was also the offensive star in game two for NDSU. She hit a two-run homer to left center field to give the Bison a 3-0 lead thru three and added a two-run base hit to left in the fourth. Defensive miscues gave NDSU three extra outs in the fourth inning and the Bison punished USD with six unearned runs.

The third and final game of the series is Saturday at 11 a.m.