Nevada softball traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas March 1-2 to play in the Wood Pig Classic. The Wolf Pack competed in four games over the weekend, dropping only one game against Arkansas. The team was originally supposed to play five games over the weekend, but their game against Boston was canceled due to weather.
March 1 vs. Northwestern State
Nevada opened the invitational strong by defeating Northwestern State by a score of 6-3. The Pack was able to secure the win on the bat of Kwynn Warner and the arm of freshman pitcher Kendall Fritz.
Warner accounted for half of the team’s offensive production, going 3-4 at the plate, and knocking in three RBIs off of a double and a single. Doubles seemed to be the theme of the game, as five Nevada players hit a total of six doubles.
For the third time this season Fritz pitched a complete game for the Wolf Pack, striking out 10 batters and only giving up three hits in the game.
The silver and blue jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the first inning and never relinquished their hold on the game. Northwestern State attempted a late rally in the bottom of the sixth when they scored off of a double RBI, cutting into Nevada’s lead, and making it a 4-3 ballgame. The Wolf Pack responded immediately in the top of the seventh with two more scores of their own.
The game-sealing runs were set up by singles from Warner and Dallas Millwood, and a double from Sierra Mello. The two runs helped to secure a 6-3 Nevada victory.
March 1 vs. Arkansas
Nevada changed up their pitching approach this game, opting for two different pitchers on the mound. Unfortunately for the Pack, the two fresh arms wouldn’t be enough to overcome No. 14 Arkansas, as they dropped this game by a score of 9-6.
Sophomore Julia Jensen started the game for the Pack, pitching two complete innings but struggled heavily during that time, giving up five runs. Head coach Josh Taylor pulled Jensen in the third, relinquishing her duties to senior Kali Sargent. Sargent struggled on the mound as well, giving up four more runs to the Razorbacks, and falling to 1-3 on the year.
Arkansas dominated offensively through the first three innings, jumping to an early 6-0 lead. Nevada attempted to battle back in the top of the fourth when a Millwood double set up the first scoring run on the game from Warner who had previously singled in center field. The scoring play set off a chain reaction of Nevada hits, surging the Wolf Pack back into the game with five more runs.
The Razorbacks responded with one run in the fifth, followed by two in the bottom of the sixth. Nevada failed to replicate their fourth inning offensive production, dropping the game to Arkansas.
March 2 vs. University of Nebraska, Omaha
The silver and blue returned to action for the second day of the invitational, shutting out Omaha 8-0. Fritz got the starting nod for Nevada, pitching six full innings and only giving up two hits. She was relieved by Rachel Rodriguez in the seventh. The win was awarded to Fritz, who is now 3-2 on the season.
Nevada had three batters hit for .500 on the day — Warner, Kenzi Goins and Sadaira McAllister. The bats were hot for the Pack, as a total of six players recorded RBIs, with Millwood and Goins recording two apiece.
Goins helped to secure the victory in the seventh, hitting a two-run home run to seal the win for the Pack. This is the second time this season that Nevada has shut out an opponent, previously denying Nicholls State of any runs back in February.
March 2 vs. Northwestern State
Sargent returned to the mound to start the final game of the weekend. The rematch of the invitational opening game proved to be a tight one, as the Pack and the Demons traded blows. An extra inning was needed, but the outcome was the same as before with Nevada winning, this time by a 4-3 margin.
Sargent pitched for seven innings, giving up three runs and eight hits. Jensen relieved Sargent entering the eighth inning, not giving up a run during her time. With the win, Sargent moves to 4-1 on the season.
Both teams hit well, hitting 18 balls over the course of the game, but leaving numerous runners on base — Nevada left six, and Northwestern State left eight. The failure from both teams to capitalize on the base runners led to the game going past regulation.
At the top of the eight, international tie-breaker rules went into effect and the Demons placed a runner on second with no outs. ITB is a rule set used in softball that places a runner on second base if more innings are needed to determine a winner. The rule is in place with the thought that it will bring about a speedier conclusion to the game. Northwestern State hit a single on the first at-bat, placing runners on first and third. Nevada managed to avoid the dangerous play, ending the top of the inning with a pop-up fly and a double play from Millwood and Danielle Lew.
The Pack choose to place Warner as their second base runner, and after one out, Goins drove in the go-ahead run to the deep left line.
Nevada will be back in action next weekend, March 8-9, as they travel to California to compete in four games at the Silicon Valley Classic.
Ryan Freeberg can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.