The Bulldogs softball team opened NSIC play with a double header Tuesday afternoon at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Huskies used 5-2, 8-4 wins to defeat UMD in the two-game series.

In Tuesday’s two games, Sidney Zavoral, Kiana Bender, Jordyn Thomas and Julia Gronholz each had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs. With two RBIs in Game 2, Bender now leads the Bulldogs with 22 RBIs in 23 games this season. Additionally, Kelly Swank, Dea Deleon, Kat Burkhardt and Gronholz all posted an RBI apiece on the day.

On the mound, Lauren Dixon took the loss in Game 1 after going 4.2 innings and allowing four runs. With eight strikeouts in Game 1, Dixon leads the pitching team in punches with 77 on the year. Christin Hartman would note two innings of relief work in the first game. In the second game of the double header, Sam Pederson and Mady Stariha each took the mound for the Bulldogs in the loss.

In Game 1, the Huskies hit first in the top of the third. However, UMD responded quickly in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI sack fly from Burkhardt to tie the game at 1-1. Four runs from St. Cloud in the top of the fifth and sixth innings would create a tough climb for UMD. Trailing 5-1 late in the sixth, the Bulldogs attempted to mount another late comeback. With two runners on base, Gronholz picked up an RBI after an error by Huskies third baseman, allowing Thomas to score. The run cut the Huskies’ lead to 5-2, but it was a bit too late for the Bulldogs in Game 1. After winning Game 1, St. Cloud came out firing in Game 2. Seven runs from the Huskies leading the first took UMD’s breath away. After making it a 7-2 game late in the second, a triple from Bender would tag Gronholz to quickly make it a 7-3 game. Trying to get back into the game in the sixth, Bender scored another RBI after using a sack fly to score Gronholz again. However, the UMD couldn’t get any closer. St. Cloud would take Game 2 8-4 and sweep the Bulldogs’ series.

UMD will be back in action on Saturday April 2 for a pair of games against the University of Mary. The double header is scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in Duluth, Minn.

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