April 17, 2010

Softball rides arms to first PCSC victories

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POCATELLO, Idaho -- Northern Colorado softball surrendered its fewest runs across back-to-back games in the last three years Saturday afternoon at Idaho State and earned a pair of historic victories at Rainey Park.

Juniors Jamie Juelfs and Kelli Henderson each took the circle against Idaho State, and neither needed any sort of relief in earning two complete-game victories that resulted in 1-0 and 2-1 wins for the Bears (10-27, 2-4) during the second weekend of Pacific Coast Softball Conference play.

The wins were Northern Colorado's first within a NCAA Division I conference and emphatically snapped a string of 13 losses in 14 games.

They also moved the Bears into a tie for fourth place with ISU (8-27, 2-4) in the PCSC Mountain Division standings as the two games prepare for another doubleheader tomorrow afternoon in Pocatello.

Northern Colorado 1, Idaho State 0

All the scoring in the first game Saturday came in the first inning and came on the heels (literally) of Northern Colorado senior Jessie Schoepflin, who led off the game with a triple and then scored a batter later when Kelli Henderson grounded out to short.

That was all Juelfs would need to win her third game of the season (3-11).

She struck out five and walked just two in her seven innings of work and allowed just six hits. No Idaho State batters reached third base in the game, and Juelfs stranded nine Bengals in the victory, including the tying and winnning runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Sophomore Erin Wilkinson hit her team-leading 12th double in the sixth inning, but Jessica McNabb stranded her on the second when she grounded out to first base.

Northern Colorado 2, Idaho State 1

Idaho State struck first in the third inning of game two with a single run, but Northern Colorado tied it in the sixth on an RBI single from McNabb and then took the lead for good in the seventh when Kailee Vessey drew a bases-loaded walk.

The Bears mustered just a single hit through the first five innings before striking for three in the final three frames to win their 10th game of the season.

Henderson (2-11) struck out seven Bengals in the win (her second-highest strikeout total this season) and walked just one while scattering seven hits.

An error from Idaho State's Jennifer Martensen opened the door for Northern Colorado to load the bases with one out in the seventh and, after a force play at home, Vessey walked to force in the go-ahead run.

Idaho State got a two-out double in its half of the seventh, but Henderson got the Bengals' Desirae Hoffman to strike out to end the contests.