Coyotes rally past Northern Colorado to reach championship

Coyotes rally past Northern Colorado to reach championship For the second straight game, The University of South Dakota softball team has rallied for a big extra-inning win. The Coyotes rallied from a pair of two-run deficits to record a 6-5 win in eight innings over Northern Colorado in action at the Independent Tournament in Greeley, Colo., on Saturday. USD (33-17) will play in the championship game of the tournament on Sunday against the winner of Saturday night's Houston Baptist/Seattle University game. The Coyotes, who have won 11 straight games, were down 5-1 Friday before rallying to beat Seattle in extra innings. On Saturday against Northern Colorado, USD was down by two runs twice – 2-0 and 5-3 – before rallying to win with three runs in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to a game-tying two-run single by Callie Roan (Jr., Sioux City, IA) and a game-winning RBI single by Mel Johnson (So., Sioux Falls). With the win, Cortney Heim (So., Plattsmouth, NE) tied USD's single-season record for pitching wins with 20. She struck out two and walked none, allowing seven hits and five runs (four earned). The game was tied at 3-3 after seven innings. Northern Colorado took a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth after Kailie Vessey hit a two-run homer to right-center. Michelle Jones (Jr., Rapid City) was placed on second to start off the eighth. One out later, Lexie Eversley (So., Yankton) was hit by a pitch. Alexa Rudeen (Fr., Sioux City, IA) reached on an error to load the bases. Roan singled up the middle to score Jones and Eversley, tying the game at 5-5. After a groundout by Tagney Jones (Sr., Lincoln, NE) advanced Jasey Goedeken, who was pinch running for Rudeen, and Roan ahead a base. Johnson provided the game-winning hit for USD, a single up the middle, to score Goedeken with the winning run. Early in the game, Northern Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the third inning, thanks to an RBI double by Melisa Ryba and an RBI single by Jessica McNabb. Alaina Novotny (So., Omaha, NE) got the Coyotes on the board in the fourth by leading off the inning with a solo homer. Rachel Fricke (Jr., Monroe, NE) followed with a double, and was pinch-ran for by Jessica Lussman (So., Storm Lake, IA). Lussman moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single up the middle by Michelle Jones, to tie the game at 2-2. However, through the first four innings, USD left six runners on base against UNC starter Kelli Henderson. UNC took a 3-2 lead in the fifth after a triple and sacrifice fly. In the sixth, USD tied the game. With one out, Eversley walked, and Rudeen followed by reaching on a fielder's choice. On the play, UNC third baseman Kailee Vessey made a throwing error, which allowed Eversley to score the tying run. Neither team scored in the seventh, sending the game into extra innings, where the Coyotes rallied for the victory. Roan finished 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Michelle Jones was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Fricke and Johnson each finished with two hits, while Tagney Jones and Novotny had hits.

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