AMES, Iowa -- South Dakota State dropped a 7-2 contest to Iowa State Friday in the National Invitational Softball Championship.
The Jackrabbits (37-18) scored first and held Iowa State scoreless until the fifth, but a Cyclone rally in the later innings proved too much for SDSU to overcome.
Kendra Conard (18-6) started and threw six complete innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on 11 hits. Conard did not walk a batter though, and struck out two before Morgan DeMarais entered in relief for the seventh. DeMarais allowed a run, a hit and a walk.
Yanney Ponce (2-for-3), Lyndsey Crist (2-for-3) and Ali Herdliska (3-for-4) had multi-hit days for the Jackrabbits. Ponce had a pair of doubles in the contest and Herdliska added a double alongside home run No. 16 of the season, tying her own school record set in 2016. Megan Rushing drove in a run for the Jacks and Crist added another double for South Dakota State's offense.
Ponce opened the second inning with a double down the right field line, and the Jackrabbits took a 1-0 lead when Rushing followed with an RBI single to right-center.
Herdliska pushed the lead to 2-0 in the third with a monstrous home run to center field, but Iowa State rallied for a run in the fifth before going on top, 6-2, with five more scores in the sixth.
The Cyclones added one more in the top of the seventh to go up five, and though South Dakota State put a pair of runners on in the final frame, ISU held off the Jackrabbit rally for the win.
• South Dakota State is 4-3 all-time at the National Invitational Softball Championship.
• Ali Herdliska has 16 home runs this season and 48 for her career, tying South Dakota State's single-season mark (held by Herdliska and Devan Larsen) and the Summit League's career record (48).
Weather delays in Ames, Iowa forced an adjustment of the weekend schedule, and the Jackrabbits will now play a consolation semifinal game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Eastern Kentucky and Purdue, who will play 9 a.m. The winner of the consolation semifinal will take on Iowa State at 2 p.m. Saturday.