SIOUX FALLS -- The Jackrabbit softball team was dealt a 7-2 setback Sunday afternoon in Sioux Falls, dropping its series opener against Western Illinois at Bowden Field.
Morgan DeMarais started and threw into the fifth, striking out four with a pair of runs allowed. Taylor Compton (6-4) pitched 2.1 innings of relief in the loss, allowing five runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Emma Hardin finished the seventh for SDSU and notched the final out of the inning.
Megan Rushing and Mallory McQuistan tallied multi-hit games for the Jacks, while Erin Mullen (double) and Julia Andersen (double) each drove in a run.
SDSU struck first behind an RBI double from Andersen in the opening frame, as the school's career record holder in two-baggers brought Daugherty home from third after the leadoff hitter was hit by a pitch.
The Jacks pushed their lead to 2-0 in the second when Mullen ripped a two-out double off the left-field fence, plating pinch-runner Olivia Pfeifer from second after McQuistan and Janssen notched singles earlier in the frame.
WIU threatened throughout the game, putting runners in the first three innings, but SDSU's defense held firm until the top of the fifth, when an RBI single and sacrifice fly helped the Leathernecks draw even, 2-2.
That score held until the top of the seventh, when Western Illinois put together a big inning to go up 7-2 on the Jacks off a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a grand slam.
SDSU opened the final inning with consecutive singles from McQuistan and Rushing, but the comeback fell short in game one of a three-game set.
Julia Andersen recorded her 40th career double, extending her lead for the school's record
Morgan DeMarais finished one strikeout shy of her season-high (five)
South Dakota State is now 11-25 all-time against Western Illinois.
South Dakota State and Western Illinois wrap up their series Monday with a doubleheader at noon. Location for Monday's action will be determined Sunday evening or early Monday, and announced on Twitter (@GoJacksSB) and GoJacks.com.