On Wednesday, the Northwestern softball team traveled to Mitchell, S.D. to play against Dakota Wesleyan in a doubleheader.
The Raiders swept the Tigers by winning the first game 11-3 in five innings in the second game 6-4 in seven innings. NW improved its conference record to 3-1 in the GPAC and 15-11 overall.
The Raiders outhit Dakota Wesleyan 10-7 in the first game and were led by sophomore Clare Ipema, who had three RBIs to go with three hits, and sophomore Laura Hurley, who had two hits. Junior Jillian Kleinhesselink also hit a leadoff solo home run the first at bat of the game to set the tone for NW.
Senior Keely Bracelin pitched for NW and allowed seven hits in 22 batters faced. She improved her record to 5-4 on the season. She only gave up two earned runs in the five innings she pitched and had four strikeouts.
The second game in the doubleheader, the Raiders took an early 6-0 lead in the first four innings. Dakota Wesleyan battled back by scoring two runs in the fifth and two in the seventh, but NW held on clinch the sweep.
The Raiders were balanced on offense with hits coming from seven different batters. Kleinhesselink and junior Kara Nonnemacher both led NW with one home run.
Senior Katie VandeVoort pitched the second game for NW and improved her record
to 5-2 overall. She had three strikeouts and allowed seven hits and four earned runs.
On Saturday, NW kicked off its conference play at home by playing a doubleheader against the Prairie Wolves of Nebraska Wesleyan. Northwestern split the series by losing the first game 4-3 and winning the second game 3-2.
In the first game, Northwestern made it a one-run game in bottom of the ninth inning when Ipema was walked with the bases loaded and scored senior Jordan Biehle. Although the Raiders rallied in the ninth, they fell short when senior Alex Price hit a popup to the shortstop for the final out of the game.
The Raiders outhit Nebraska Wesleyan in the first game 7-6 with Ipema and Biehle tallying two hits each. Hurley, junior Kourtni Robinson, senior Lindsey Remien and Nonnemacher each had one hit.
Bracelin pitched the first game in the series and picked up her fourth loss of the season. She gave up six hits and four runs but only one earned run in seven innings. She also had four strikeouts and walked two.
In the second game, Nebraska Wesleyan scored the first two runs in the second inning, but Northwestern answered by scoring two in the third. The Raiders won the game in the ninth inning when Robinson hit a leadoff solo home run to clinch the win.
The Raiders had a total of eight hits and were led by Biehle and Kleinhesselink, who both had two. Price and Hurley both went 1-4 with an RBI, and sophomore Allison Herbert added a single.
VandeVoort collected her third-straight win by allowing six hits and two earned.
She had a season-best 10 strikeouts and had two walks.
“Despite the 21-degree weather, I feel like we learned a lot on Saturday and got better as a team,” Biehle said.
NW will play two games at home today at
5 p.m. and 7 p.m.