In a game that featured a combined 19 runs and 30 hits, the final hit did in the UNC softball team against Idaho State Sunday, as the Bengals came away with a 10-9 victory in the eighth inning, forcing a split in the four-game weekend set at Butler-Hancock Softball Field.
The University of Northern Colorado (21-27, 6-10 Pacific Coast Softball Conference) split its third home conference series this season. Idaho State (9-33, 5-11) took the final games both Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders.
After a long battle with Bears' pitcher Mikayla Duffy, Bengals infielder Amanda Fitzsimmons belted a 3-2 pitch to the right field wall, which scored the eighth, ninth and 10th runs, sealing the game for ISU in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The story of the game, offensively, for the Bears was junior outfielder Lindsey Smith, who went 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs and was a triple shy of the cycle.
"I had been struggling earlier this weekend, so I just decided to go out there and have some fun hitting the ball," Smith said.
In the circle, sophomore Megan Wilkinson started the second game of Sunday's twin-bill but lasted just four outs before being relieved by junior Jamie Pollak. Wilkinson gave up six runs on eight hits in 18 batters faced after coming back in the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pollak was strong in relief, giving up one run on four hits in her 3.2 innings of work.
"I have faith in my defense, and I'm that kind of pitcher that they put the ball in play," Pollak said. "I try and get ground balls for my defense to take care of."
The lone run Pollak gave up was a home run, hit by Fitzsimmons in the bottom of the fifth inning.
"It's natural to get a little angry when you think about what pitch you could have thrown, but you have to snap out of it fast because the next hitter is right there," Pollak said.
Duffy came on in the bottom of the seventh and gave up three runs on three hits in 1.1 innings. She also hit one of the Bears' two home runs in the game.
Head coach Mark Montgomery said he was happy with the offensive showing, but the pitching fell short.
"As good as we've been, we sat there and let them do the exact same thing," Montgomery said. "We've got to find a way to shut down other teams, and I just don't know that we had enough pitching today to get it done."
The Bears won Sunday's first game, 8-6. On Saturday, UNC began the series down, 8-0, before three-run innings in the fourth and sixth and a five run seventh propelled them to an 11-10 victory. The Bears dropped the second game on Saturday, 4-2.
The Bears will visit Seattle to take on the Redhawks (15-24, 8-8) in the PCSC finale Saturday and Sunday in Seattle.