Red Raider softball gets underway

The Northwestern softball team opened their season splitting eight games over the past two weekends in Kansas.

The Raiders dropped their opener to Bethany 4-3. Leading 3-1 heading into the bottom of the 7th inning, Bethany rattled off 3 runs en route to the walk-off victory. Senior Jaclyn Smith paced the offense with two hits for the Raiders.

In the second game, NW was again ousted, this time by a score of 12-4 in five innings. NW tallied only three hits in the second game.

The following day, the Red Raiders split with Benedictine, dropping the first game 9-2 and winning the second 7-1. Senior Mons Figueroa had two hits in the first game for NW while fellow senior Morgan Means pitched four innings and picked up the loss.

The second game was scoreless through four innings until sophomore Madison Beaver singled, which sent junior Jensen Boger home. Senior Bri Petrauskas would then hit a sacrifice fly to send the Raiders up 2-0 going into the sixth. NW would score five more runs in the sixth to seal the game. Means pitched three scoreless innings, and junior Kayla Tindall picked up the win for the Red Raiders.

NW traveled to Kansas for the second consecutive weekend, sweeping Tabor in their first double-header and splitting with McPherson in the second. The Raiders beat Tabor in the first game 2-0, scoring both runs off a Smith triple in the fifth inning. Tindall pitched a complete game for her first shutout of the season.

The Raiders beat Tabor in the second game, 6-4. Beaver and Boger each tallied two hits to lead the offense while Means picked up the win on the mound.

NW defeated McPherson in the first game of their double-header, 4-3. Freshman Payton Goettsch scored the winning run in the sixth for the Raiders off an error from McPherson. Tindall threw a complete game and picked up her third win of the season.

In the second game, the Raiders were defeated 4-1. The Raiders could only muster up four hits in game two, led by senior Jessica Rayela with three hits. Means pitched a complete game in the loss.

The Northwestern softball team was picked to finish 8th in this year’s GPAC standings. The Raiders are looking to build on last year’s 20-29 overall record, and 8-14 conference record which positioned them at 9th in the GPAC.

The squad will be coached by Chris Nachtigall, who is entering his sixth season at the helm. Nachtigall enters the season with 133 total career wins.

NW will be led by two returning All-GPAC honorable mention nominees from last year’s squad. They are senior Mons Figueroa, who will be behind the plate, and senior Jessica Rayela, who will play in the infield. Handling the main pitching duties this season will be senior Morgan Means and junior Kayla Tindall.

NW returns to action Mar. 4 at the Friends University Tournament in Wichita, KS in a rematch with Benedictine College.