South Dakota softball team sweeps doubleheader

South Dakota softball team sweeps doubleheader
The University of South Dakota softball team recorded its first North Central Conference doubleheader sweep of the season in exciting fashion as freshman designated player Rachel Fricke (Monroe, NE) homered in both ends of the twinbill, including a walk-off round-tripper in the second game, to lead the Coyotes to 4-1 and 6-4 victories. USD improved to 13-23 overall and 2-2 in NCC play with the sweep while the Huskies fell to 14-17 on the year and 0-2 in league competition.

South Dakota trailed in both games played at the USD softball complex, with SCSU taking a 1-0 lead in the opener with a run in the top of the second. Fricke evened the score at 1-1 when she drove an 0-2 offering over the left-field fence to lead off the bottom of the third. Later on in the same frame, sophomore pitcher Tagney Jones (Lincoln, NE) put the Coyotes ahead for good by blasting her fourth home run of the season to right field, with her three-run round-tripper making the score 4-1, where it would remain the rest of the way.

Jones went the distance on the mound in improving to 5-14 on the year by scattering four hits, one earned run and three walks while striking out five. At the plate, Jones helped her own cause by going 1-3 with the decisive three-run homer.

Things did not look good for the Coyotes in the nightcap as St. Cloud State pitcher Stef Schroeder carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Though sophomore rightfielder Ashley Weyers (Lincoln, NE) ended Schroeder's no-hit bit with a double to the left center-field gap to open the sixth, USD still entered the bottom of the seventh on the short end of a 4-0 score.

The wild USD rally began when Jones led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. After an out, senior leftfielder Stephanie Bergman (Ithaca, NE) belted a double down the right-field line. A walk by freshman centerfielder Jasey Goedeken (Columbus, NE) loaded the bases, though an out on the next Coyote at bat put the game into the hands of Weyers with two away. Weyers delivered with an infield single to shortstop to put South Dakota on the board, and made the score 4-1 with junior third baseman Krystal Kirwan (Omaha, NE) stepping to the plate.

Kirwan hit a hot shot to the Husky second baseman that looked like it might end the game, but she threw the ball away, allowing two runs to cross the plate and made the score 4-3. The tying run stood on third, and the go-ahead run was on second base when Fricke stepped to the plate, needing only a single to likely end the game. Instead, Fricke did one better by lacing a 1-1 offering down the left field line that cleared the fence while barely staying fair, ending the game with a walk-off home run.

Freshman Tiffany Mockenhaupt (Lincoln, NE) pitched the final 2-2/3 innings in picking up the win and evening her record at 4-4 on the year by allowing two hits, one earned run and issuing no walks while striking out two. Goedeken started the game and went 4-1/3 innings, surrendering seven hits, three runs (all earned) and one walk with three strikeouts to her credit.

Weyers was the lone Coyote to post a multi-hit game in the nightcap by going 2-3 with a double and a run scored. Fricke was 1-4, though her one hit was the decisive game-ending home run, which was her third round-tripper of the year.

USD will continue its three-day NCC homestand tomorrow with a twinbill against Minnesota Duluth, to begin at noon at the USD Softball Complex.

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