Sidney Zavoral’s single scored Jessica Bren with the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning to lift Minnesota Duluth to a 1-0 victory over Concordia-St. Paul in the opening round of the NSIC softball tournament Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota.
This was a pitching duel at its finest, with UMD junior Sam Pederson getting the win over the Golden Bears senior Kali Kaestner as both pitchers went the distance.
Pederson (12-5) scattered six hits, with seven strikeouts and three walks. Kaestner allowed nine hits, with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
That set the stage for Bren, a senior catcher who led off the bottom of the 13th with a single before eventually moving over to third.
Zavoral, a sophomore who was pinch-hit for after her first two at bats only to come back in later, didn’t disappoint, smacking the game-winning hit off the center fielder’s glove.
It was the longest game in coach Jen Walter’s six-year tenure with the Bulldogs.
“It was a great performance by both pitchers,” Walter said. “It was a very well played game by both teams. We were just one hit better.”
Bren and Jordyn Thomas of Hermantown had two hits apiece to lead fourth-seeded UMD (32-13) while Kris McIntyre had three hits to lead fifth-seeded Concordia-St. Paul (23-20).
The Bulldogs will now play Augustana (41-4) — the nation’s top-ranked team — at noon Friday in the next round of the double-elimination tournament.
Yellowjackets sting Saints
Jess Jacobson’s double scored Olivia Bancroft-Hart with the winning run in the top of the eighth inning as fifth-seeded Wisconsin-Superior stunned top-seeded St. Scholastica 5-4 on the opening day of the double-elimination UMAC softball tournament before 134 at Kenwood Field in Duluth.
St. Scholastica got the tying run aboard after Aislind Dail opened the bottom of the eighth with a single. Dail was then bunted over to second but was left stranded as UWS starter Tayler Kraemer got out of the jam with a flyout and a strikeout. Kraemer (12-7) scattered 10 hits, with six strikeouts and three walks.
Olivia Howe (16-4) took the loss for CSS despite allowing just three earned runs over eight innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.
Jacobson had four hits and three RBIs and Bancroft-Hart had three hits, two runs and an RBI to lead the Yellowjackets (19-13), who play Northwestern (16-21) at noon Friday in a winners’ bracket game at Kenwood Field.
Howe and Grace Hadlich each had two hits and an RBI to lead the Saints (32-7), who play Bethany Lutheran (20-16) in an elimination game at 2 p.m. Friday at Kenwood Field.
UWS opened the UMAC tournament Thursday by defeating fourth-seeded Northland 7-2 as Kraemer tossed a five-hitter, allowing only one earned run, with eight strikeouts helping overcome six walks.
Kaela Kraemer, Tayler's sister, had four hits — including a triple and double — and four runs while Tayler Kraemer had three hits and an RBI to lead the Yellowjackets.