Coyote Softball drops 2 at Stetson Lead-off Classic

The University of South Dakota softball team rallied from a 7-1 deficit to tie the game, but the comeback came up short in an 8-7 loss to Samford at the Stetson Lead-off Classic in Deland, FL. The Coyotes fell to 0-4 with a 9-0 loss to Stetson later in the day.

"We just aren't executing right now," USD head coach Amy Klyse said. "We have some good at-bats and some good defense but we're not consistent in those areas yet."

The Coyotes filed a formal protest regarding repeated illegal substitutions in the Samford game and will wait to hear the official outcome of that game.

Freshman Morgan Hancock (Wahoo, NE) was 2-for-4 with two RBI, while freshman Katie Dinning (Omaha) was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Senior Alexa Rudeen (Sioux City, IA) was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while sophomore Lindsey Boyd (Westminster, CO) was 2-for-4. Senior Bre Zmolek (Brookings), junior Kassie Loe (Lennox, SD) and senior Stephanie Hall (Torrance, CA) each had one hit.

The Coyotes were down 1-0 early but came back to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Boyd singled to lead off the inning, and stole second. Dinning singled, moving Boyd to third; she later stole second to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Boyd scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1. Dinning attempted to score on a fly ball by Rudeen but was thrown out at the plate, and the Coyotes managed just one run out of the inning.

Samford broke the game open with a six-run second inning, knocking Coyote starter Missy Blackburn (Sioux Falls) out of the game. The Coyotes got one of the runs back in the third, as Loe led off with a single; she moved to third on Hall's single to the pitcher. Dinning's fielder's choice scored Loe, bringing the Coyotes within 7-2.

South Dakota scored again in the fifth. Zmolek led off with a single – and was pinch-ran for by sophomore Katelyn Wudel (Elmhurst, IL). She moved to second when Hall reached on an error. Boyd singled to load the bases. Dinning reached on a fielder's choice and Wudel scored on a throwing error on the play, bringing the Coyotes within 7-3.

The Coyotes were down 7-3 going into the bottom of the seventh before mounting a rally. Loe was hit by a pitch, and two outs later, Dinning doubled, putting runners on second and third with two out. Rudeen doubled to left center to score both runs and cut the lead to 7-5. Moments later, Hancock hit her first collegiate home run, a two-run blast, to tie the game at 7-7, sending the game to extra innings.

Using the Olympic tiebreaker rules, Samford scored in the top of the eight on a wild pitch to take an 8-7 lead. The Coyotes had the tying run at third with one out, but were unable to push the tying run across.

Sophomore Paige Policky (Lincoln, NE) pitched well in relief for the Coyotes but took the loss. She gave up no earned runs in 6.1 innings of work, striking out two while walking three.

Against Stetson, four different Coyotes had one hit apiece: freshman Allie Daly (Sioux Falls), Wudel, Loe and Hall. However, the Hatters hit three homers in the game that proved to be the difference.

The Coyotes managed a threat in the fifth, loading the bases, but were unable to get any runs across. Wudel singled, and one out later, sophomore Christine Broders (Yankton) walked. Hall singled to center to load the bases. Boyd's fielder's choice forced out Wudel at home, and a strikeout ended the threat for the Coyotes.

Policky took the loss, going 2.1 innings.

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