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Raiders Capture GPAC Softball Regular Season Title in Tuesday Sweep

YANKTON, S.D. – The No. 12-ranked Northwestern softball team (43-4, 18-2 GPAC) clinched an outright regular season Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) championship with two wins at Mount Marty (16-19, 9-11 GPAC) on Tuesday night. It marks Northwestern’s first regular season title since 2014 and their first outright title since 2012.

As a result, the Raiders have received an automatic berth to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) softball tournament.

GAME 1: NWC 6, MMU 2

How It Happened

The Raiders put their foot on the pedal early, scoring four runs in the first two innings and receiving a strong pitching performance fromKameryn Etherington(Jr., Algona, Iowa) to set themselves up for a 6-2 road win.

Gwen Mikkelsen(Jr., Casa Grande, Ariz.) took advantage of a one-out walk byMadysn Grotewold(Jr., Larchwood, Iowa), doubling in the first run of the game. With two outs, it wasChloe Gallegos(So., Carroll, Iowa) who drove Mikkelsen home on an RBI single for Northwestern’s second score of the inning.

Northwestern extended their lead to 4-0 in the second asJewel Bergstrom(Fr., Boyden, Iowa) came around from first as a pinch runner to score, before Grotewold hit an RBI base hit.

In the top of the fourth, Mikkelsen continued her solid game at the plate, lining another double into center with two runners on to make the score 6-0.

Mount Marty added two runs in the sixth on a home run and an RBI single, but their offensive output would end there as Northwestern added on to their season win total.

GAME 2: NWC 13, MMU 3

How It Happened

With the conference standings shaking out on Tuesday evening, Northwestern had a chance to clinch the regular season GPAC title with a win in game two.

After a slow first two innings offensively,Gwen Mikkelsenblasted her seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot to open the scoring for Northwestern in the third.

Mount Marty answered the bill in the bottom of the fourth, hitting a two-run homer to tie things up. However, that would be all for a while as the Raiders were back in business with aLeah Schaefer(Fr., Marshall, Minn.) RBI double that scored two.Madysn Grotewoldthen entered at second as the pinch runner and scored on an error to extend the lead to 5-2.

The Raiders piled it on in the next two innings, starting with a four-run sixth. The first run came on an error beforeJennifer Boeve(Sr., Hastings, Neb.) had her “welcome back” moment, pulling a single to left for the RBI. With two outs and a 7-2 lead, Mikkelsen sparked the offense again, hitting a triple to bring in two more runs.

Contributions came from up and down the lineup, withEllie Jacobson(Jr., Humboldt, Iowa) giving Northwestern its 10thrun of the game on a single that broughtChloe Gallegoshome.Charli Bomgaars(So., Boyden, Iowa) then recorded her 17thRBI of the year on a base hit before Mikkelsen set a career-high with her fifth RBI of the game, giving the Raiders a 13-3 lead to take into the home half of the seventh.

Mount Marty left a runner on first in the seventh, but the Raiders walked away with an automatic bid to the NAIA tournament and a series sweep of the Lancers.

Game Notes

Gwen Mikkelsen had a career-high five RBIs in the win. She was just a double shy of hitting for the cycle, also hitting a home run and a triple.

Kate Kralik (So., Indianola, Iowa) tossed a complete game, posting five strikeouts and remaining an undefeated 17-0.

Jennifer Boeve recorded her first hit since returning to the lineup yesterday.

Chloe Gallegos had a 2-3 day at the plate.

Charli Bomgaars had two hits, scoring three times and driving home a run.

Up Next: The regular season finale is set for Saturday, April 29 as the Raiders will host the Midland Warriors at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. in Orange City.

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