Burgard Records Shutout; PNW Softball Ends Regular Season with Split
Big Rapids, Mich. – Freshman Samantha Burgard (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake South) threw a six-hit shutout for her eighth victory of the season (8-7) to highlight a split for the Purdue Northwest softball team Sunday against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) foe Ferris State University (Mich.) at FSU Softball Field in Big Rapids, Mich. The Pride gave up four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to drop the first game, 9-8; but rode Burgard’s big performance to a 3-0 victory in the late affair to close out their regular season slate. Burgard did not give up a walk and struck out nine batters in game two Sunday.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the opener scoring on a RBI triple and a RBI single. Junior Shailen Johnson (Lafayette, Ind./Danville Area CC/Harrison) hit a RBI triple to the gap in right centerfield in the top of the second to pull the Pride within a run, 2-1. However, FSU got the run back in the bottom half of the second on a RBI double to go up, 3-1. Freshman Alexis Madrigal (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth with a two-run single to centerfield.
In the top of the fifth, senior Kyleigh Payne (Bourbonnais, Ill./Kankakee CC/Bishop McNamara) gave PNW the 4-3 lead with a RBI single to left field. The Pride bats really came alive in the top of the sixth when junior Tessa Steffens (Litchfield, Ill./Litchfield) hit a RBI single to right field and Payne hit a three-run triple to right field to put PNW up, 8-3. Unfortunately for Purdue Northwest, Ferris State rallied scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth off a pair of RBI singles and then plated four more in the seventh with the big hit of the rally coming on a two-run homer to left centerfield.
Burgard suffered the loss (7-7) in game one in a reliever role. She pitched a third of an inning and allowed one hit, one run (earned) and a walk. Freshman Courtney Blackwell (Whiting, Ind./Whiting) got the start in the opener and combined with junior Mia Stevens (Wheatfield, Ind./South Suburban CC/Kankakee Valley) to pitch the first 6.1 innings.
Game two was just the opposite as Burgard shut down the FSU bats to fuel the 3-0 win. Senior Samme Miller (North Salem, Ind./St. Joseph’s College/Tri-West) gave PNW a 1-0 edge in the top of the fourth inning with a RBI triple down the right field line. Sophomore Taylor Mendenhall (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) logged a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth to push the lead to 2-0. Senior Holly Pagan (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) completed the game’s scoring in the top of the seventh with a RBI single to left field.
Purdue Northwest (25-24 overall/15-17 GLIAC) has concluded its regular season slate and earned a berth into the 2018 GLIAC Softball Tournament, which begins on Friday, May 4. The seeds and pairings for the event will be released by the conference this week and the tournament will be held at Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky, Ohio.