If NIC softball admission wasn’t free, the college probably could have sold $100 tickets to see the Kristen Burtch show Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Kristen Burtch (first base) was instrumental in helping the first-place Lady Cards win two of their four regular-season meetings with second-place Community College of Southern Nevada Friday and Saturday. NIC lost both games Friday and fell to second place in the SWAC giving CCSN the No. 1 spot.
Saturday, however, spelled nothing but victory for NIC as homeruns from freshman Shay Craig (pitcher/third base), sophomore Angie Boardman (second base) and Burtch along with some brilliant pitching from sophomore starting pitcher Kelcey Cavan helped the Lady Cards win both games, including the game four thriller, that launched NIC back on top of the conference standings.
The Lady Cards were trailing 6-4 in the top of the sixth inning of game four Saturday afternoon, when Cavan, having already pitched all seven innings of game one and three, was called back into the circle. She clinched the victory by pitching two consecutive three-up, three-down innings.
Cavan did her part and, while the hitters waited until the bottom of the seventh, they did theirs. Freshman infielder Kelli Bridges walked to first bringing Boardman to the plate. Needing two runs to tie, she knocked a home run over the left-field fence and crossed the plate to even the score.
Burtch, who hit an RBI home run in the bottom of the fourth, stepped up to the plate. She read CCSN starting pitcher Kelly Griego like a book and wasted no time launching the dramatic game-winning home run over the centerfielder’s head.
For the brief intermission between Saturday’s games, both teams were tied for the lead in the SWAC with 19-8 records. Burtch’s homer broke the tie and pushed NIC back on top.
While Burtch had the only game-winning home run, she was not the only Lady Card to register a pair of homers for the weekend. In addition to Boardman’s seventh-inning, game-tying home run in game four, she drilled one over the left field fence in the bottom of the first in game one of the series.
Craig also contributed a pair of long balls on the weekend, her first coming Friday, in the bottom of the fourth inning of game one. Her second came in the bottom of the fourth inning again, but this one happened in game four where each run of the one-run victory was crucial. Despite her success with the bat, Craig was on the mound for the first five innings of the fourth game when the Coyotes scored all six of their runs.
The Lady Cards are now 20-8 for the season with 12 regular-season games remaining. All 12 games are against conference opponents. A four-game series against rival College of Southern Idaho at CSI is scheduled for April 13-14.