VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- The Bellevue University softball team earned a North Star Athletic Association doubleheader split on Saturday against ninth-ranked Valley City State University, falling in the opener, 9-6, before rebounding with a 7-4 victory in the nightcap. The win in the second game snapped the Vikings' 14-game winning streak and kept the Bruins one game out of the conference lead.
With the split, the Bruins are now 25-13 on the season and 8-2 in the NSAA. VCSU moved to 29-2 overall and 9-1 in league play.
The four-game series will conclude on Sunday (April 7) with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on the VCSU Football Field turf.
Game 1: VCSU 9, Bellevue 6
The Vikings scored eight runs in the third and fifth innings to pull away for the 9-6 win in the opener. VCSU outhit the Bruins, 11-9, in the win.
On a full count, Rochford launched a two-run homer to left field to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Vikings responded in the bottom of the second with an RBI single to center field by Tatum Lundin, scoring Kadie Anderson from third, to slice the lead to 2-1.
Sharpe blasted the first pitch of the third inning over the center field fence to push the BU advantage to 3-1.
The Vikings took their first lead of the contest in the bottom of the third, scoring five runs, highlighted by a two-run single to left by Kadie Anderson, an RBI single to center by Emily Smith, and a sacrifice fly to right by Autumn Perry, giving VCSU a 6-3 edge.
Kelsey Arnold scored in the top of the fourth following a bases-loaded throwing error by VCSU catcher Jayme Menard, to cut the Viking lead to 6-4.
An RBI single to right field by Egan scored Ashley Young to pull the Bruins to within one run at 6-5 in the top of the fifth frame.
The Vikings pushed the lead to 9-5 in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on a two-run double to left field by Menard and an RBI infield single by Voni Culp.
Emilee Wilson remained undefeated on the year, improving to 9-0, scattering six hits with two walks and five strikeouts in the final four innings of the contest.
Sharpe (5-4) suffered the loss, giving up six runs on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts in three innings of work.
Game 2: Bellevue 7, Valley City State 4
The Bruins used a five-run fourth inning and the solid pitching efforts of Brieanna Brock to record the 7-4 victory in the nightcap.
Bliemeister and Egan both drove in a pair of runs in the victory.
The Bruins took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Bliemeister scored following a throwing error by Viking third baseman Marissa Hawkins.
Sharpe pelted a solo homer to left field to give BU a 2-0 margin in the top of the third inning. It was her team-leading 16th home run of the season.
The Vikings countered in the bottom of the third, taking the lead at 3-2 on an RBI triple to right field by Joelle Aiello, a run-scoring single to right by Voni Culp, and an RBI double to left by Emily Smith.
The Bruins quickly responded in the top of the fourth, scoring five runs on a two-run triple to right field by Egan, an RBI single to left by Rochford, and a two-run homer to left by Bliemeister to give BU a 7-3 advantage.
Smith drove in Culp with an RBI single to left field to pull the Vikings to within three at 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh. Brock, however, induced a ground out to end the threat, giving BU the crucial victory.
Brock improved to 9-2 on the season with the complete-game victory. She scattered seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in seven innings in the circle.