Western Courier

Softball heads to Bison country

Hailey+Duwa+prepares+for+a+ball+at+the+plate.
Hailey Duwa prepares for a ball at the plate.

Hailey Duwa prepares for a ball at the plate.

Angel Strack/ Photo Editor

Angel Strack/ Photo Editor

Hailey Duwa prepares for a ball at the plate.

Michael Harms, Courier Staff

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FARGO, N.D. — Western Illinois University is looking to finish the season on a strong note in the final series of the season when they go up up against the North Dakota State University Bison.

Western looks to hold its place at first in the conference before going into championship season. With a 9-3 record in conference NDSU is at third with a 7-3 record.

Western’s recent performance has been sub-par. Going up against SDSU over the previous weekend, they only won one game out of three, allowing the Jackrabbits to get in closing distance of the number one position in conference.

They are 1-4 in their last five matchup’s and have struggled in more ways than one. In the last five games they only combined 10 runs and gave up 38. This last series will be a grueling fight for the top positions. The silent bats will have to change.

There is hope with junior Hailey Duwa, who is currently ranked fifth in the Summit League, with a batting average of .372 and 31 in RBIs. Alongside her is sophomore Jasmine Lara. She is ranked 10th, with an average of .330 and ninth OBP at .430. Their talents at the plate will need to uphold against NDSU in order to get a win.

In the pitching category, look no further than Western’s own Emily Ira. The junior pitcher out of Iowa City has been shining bright this season. She is fifth ranked in conference for saves with nine, fourth for ERA at 3.51 and second in strikeouts with 149.

This weekend will show just how much talent she brings to Western’s lineup. She has struggled as of late. In her last three matchups she has posted an ERA above seven every time out. Luckily her hitting has made up for it. In the last three matchups she has been hitting an average of .500. Hopefully she will turn things around on the mound this weekend.

NDSU has a lineup worth sweating over. To start at the plate NDSU has senior Bre Beatty. Ranked seventh in conference for average at .345, she is the leader for this team.

She was the Summit League Tournament MVP last year, and is hoping to prove she is the best in the conference here this weekend. Her leadership has brought the Bison to the NCAA RPI ranks at number 56. She leads her team with 16 multiple hit games and seven multiple RBI games.

The real strength for NDSU comes at the mound. The ace for NDSU is Jacquelyn Sertic. She leads the Summit League in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA with 1.47. The senior is having an amazing year and hopes to bring the Bison to the top of the Summit League this weekend.

Only one school has gotten double digit hits on her, and that school was Arizona State. Her caliber as a pitcher is unmatched in the Summit League and will be hard to overcome.

The three game series starts with a double header on Saturday in Fargo, N.D. followed by one more game on Sunday. These are the final matchups before the Summit League Tournament in Fargo starting May 9.

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Softball heads to Bison country