VERMILLION, S.D.—South Dakota softball defeated Kansas City 8-7 (11 inn.) and 8-1 in a Senior Day doubleheader at Nygaard Field on Saturday afternoon. The two wins secured the Coyotes' place in the Summit League Softball Championships, which will be held May 9-11 in Fargo, N.D., and boosted them into fourth-place in the league standings.
Erica Denney pitched all 11 innings of the first game to get the win. Madison Frain threw the entire second game and struck out nine while giving up just four hits. It was the ninth time this season Frain has recorded six or more strikeouts.
Matley Jones' extended her season-best hit streak to eight games while going 4 for 9 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI in the series. Jones is hitting .462 for the month of April. Allie Daly hit two home runs and a double and had four RBIs. Daly leads the Summit League in all three categories. Morgan Hancock went 5 of 8 at the plate with two doubles and three runs scored.
After 10 ½ innings of play the ‘Yotes were able to break the tie and win the first game 8-7. Hancock opened the inning with a single and advanced to third on Jones' double. Christine Broders' missed bunt attempt on a suicide squeeze left Hancock stranded halfway between third base and home, but UMKC catcher Caitlin Christopher's throw to third hit Hancock in the back and rolled toward the Coyotes' third base dugout as Hancock turned and sprinted home for the winning score.
The Coyotes took a little bit of time to get going in the opener and trailed 4-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning. Hancock ignited the USD offense with a leadoff double and later scored two batters later on Broders' sacrifice fly. Katie Cochran followed with a single that scored Jones, who had reached on an error, to cut the deficit to 4-2.
USD took its first lead of the series in the bottom of the sixth. Two batters after Katie Dinning opened the inning with a walk Daly hit her first home run of the day, a line-drive rocket to centerfield. Hancock and Jones followed with consecutive doubles, with Jones' rip scoring Hancock.
After the ‘Roos struck back with two runs of their own in the top of the seventh the Coyotes came to the plate trailing 6-5. Lindsey Boyd started the rally with a walk and then stole second base. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, the UMKC third baseman mishandled and hard ground ball and allowed Boyd to score and tie the game at 6-6.
The two teams traded runs in the ninth, with the Coyotes' coming on a double by Daly that plated Dinning.
In game two the Coyotes were able to pull away from the Kangaroos in the bottom of the third inning, which they entered trailing 1-0. Dinning started the stanza with double to right field that was followed by Minogue launching a home run to left center, giving USD a 2-1 lead it never relinquished. The next batter, Daly, crushed the very next pitch to straight centerfield to increase South Dakota's lead to 3-1.
The Coyote bats provided Frain with five more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. USD hit six singles while batting through the entire lineup to push the margin to 8-1, the game's final score.
The series will conclude with one game tomorrow beginning at noon. After tomorrow's game the Coyotes will finish the regular season with three games in Fargo, N.D., against North Dakota State.