STARKVILLE, MS – The Northwestern State Lady Demon softball team defeated Western Kentucky 5-3, and Lipscomb 2-1 in the first day of the Bulldog Battle hosted by Mississippi State Friday afternoon.
"These were big wins for us," said fourth year head coach Donald Pickett. "We had two intense games, and coming out on top in both of them was a great way to start the weekend."
The Lady Demons (4-1) got off to a rough start as Western Kentucky (1-1) put three on the board in the first inning.
Preslie Cruse led-off with a single to left field, and eventually crossed the plate off a single to second base by Jacqueline McGill. Mallorie Solaski tripled to right field, knocking in McGill, and later scoring on an illegal pitch.
NSU picked up one run each in the second and third innings.
In the second, Jordan Palmer singled to the pitcher, and later advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tara McKenney earned the RBI as she singled to right field then reached second on an overthrow, allowing Palmer to score.
Cali Burke doubled to right center to get on in the third. Senior Brooke Boening came in to pinch hit for Kylie Roos, notching a single through the left side, advancing Burke to third. Sophomore Cheyenne DelaGarza doubled down the right field line to send Burke home, bringing the Lady Demons within one run of the Lady Toppers.
Both teams played a scoreless fourth and fifth inning.
NSU put an end to the mid-game scoring drought in the bottom of the sixth. Despite having two outs, the Lady Demons rallied to send two home. McKenney and Virgoe both singled to get on base, followed by another single by Burke to send McKenney home, tying the game at three. Brianna Rodriguez doubled down the left field line to score Virgoe and Burke, capping the score 5-3.
Virgoe led the Lady Demons with three hits and one run, followed by McKenney with two hits, one RBI and one run.
Roos threw for three solid innings, striking out two and allowing only three hits.
Boening earned the win after four innings in the circle as she also struck out two, and allowing one hit.
NSU extended its winning streak to three with a 2-1 victory over Lipscomb (3-3).
Kaylee Guidry threw for seven solid innings, allowing only four hits, one run and striking out four as the Lady Demons played six scoreless innings alongside the Bisons.
In the seventh, Virgoe singled to right field, and later advanced to second off a SAC bunt from Burke. Rodriguez doubled to left center, sending Virgoe home to put the Lady Demons on the board.
Natalie Landry singled to pitcher Heather Parker, allowing Rodriguez to sneak home.
With two out, Lipscomb was able to notch one run in the bottom of the seventh off of two hits and one error, but it wouldn't be enough as Guidry struck out Rena Cothron to seal the victory.
"The rest of this tournament will be just as much of a challenge as today was," said Pickett. "There are some great teams here."
The Lady Demons continue play in the Bulldog Battle on Saturday as they take on host Mississippi State at two o'clock and Murray State at 4:00 P.M.