The South Dakota softball team improved to 5-3 in the Summit League with a pair of wins over Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Friday at the USD Softball Complex in Vermillion. The Coyotes won the first game, 2-0 and captured the second, 5-4 in eight innings to extend their winning streak to three games.
The win in the first game was also the 100th career victory for Coyote head coach Amy Klyse, who now is at 101 for her career. Klyse is second in victories in school history and just the second coach to surpass 100 victories at the school.
The Coyotes christened their new home field – which includes new dugouts and outfield fencing – with a pair of hard-fought wins, thanks to strong pitching from junior Erica Denney (Sioux City, IA) and key plays late in the game.
"That's a great start to this series," Klyse said. "Our girls figured out a way to come out on top in both games. Erica threw her best game of the year in the first game and came in and got it done in relief in the second. Now it's right back at it Saturday."
In the opener, Denney fired a four-hit shutout, striking out five and walking none. It is the third shutout of her career and first of the season.
Freshman Katie Dinning (Omaha, NE) was 1-for-3 with two RBI – delivering the huge two-run single in the sixth to break a 0-0 tie – to pace the Coyote offense. Sophomore Lindsey Boyd (Westminster, CO) was 1-for-2 with two stolen bases, while junior Kassie Loe (Lennox, SD) was 1-for-2 with a double.
The game was a pitching duel between Denney and IUPUI's Jocelyn Oppenhuis. Both teams had their best scoring threats in the sixth – but Denney was able to keep the Jaguars off the scoreboard.
IUPUI put runners on second and third with nobody out in the sixth. However, Denney got three consecutive groundouts to end the inning and keep the score tied at 0-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Coyotes broke the scoreless deadlock. Loe led off the inning with a double, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Stephanie Hall (Torrance, CA). Boyd walked and stole second. Dinning then delivered the biggest hit of the game with a single up the middle to score both Loe and Hall, giving the Coyotes a 2-0 lead.
Denney retired IUPUI in order – with two strikeouts – to finish off the shutout and a 2-0 Coyote win.
In the second game, Loe was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while senior Alexa Rudeen (Sioux City, IA) was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Dinning was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, while junior Kate Snow (Battle Creek, NE) added a single.
The Coyotes trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the fourth before breaking through against IUPUI starter Samantha Bumbaugh. Dinning led off the inning with a triple, and Rudeen doubled to center to score her. One out later, freshman Morgan Hancock (Wahoo, NE) was hit by a pitch. Loe doubled to left, scoring Rudeen and moving Hancock to third. Hancock scored on a wild pitch to give the Coyotes a 3-2 lead.
IUPUI came back to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the frame, the Coyotes capitalized on a pair of Jaguar errors to regain the lead. Dinning reaching on a throwing error, on which she also moved to second base. Rudeen walked, and a groundout advanced both runners. Dinning scored when a pickoff throw to third was errant, giving the Coyotes a 4-3 lead.
The Jaguars tied the game again with a single run in the sixth. The Coyotes had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh, putting runners on first and third with one out, but Dinning was thrown out at home attempting to score on a groundout by freshman Allie Daly (Sioux Falls, S.D.), and a strikeout ended the threat, sending the contest to extra innings.
IUPUI had a runner on third with one out in the top of the eighth, but Denney, pitching in relief, got the final two outs of the inning to keep the game tied at 4-4.
In the eighth, Loe led off with a walk, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Christine Broders (Yankton). Loe moved to third on a passed ball. One out later, senior Bre Zmolek (Brookings) walked. Boyd hit a grounder to short that was thrown away, allowing Loe to score with the winning run.
A key play in the game occurred in the second inning. With one run already in, IUPUI's Megan Cory singled to right, but Dinning fired a throw home to nail Ashley Seering at the plate for the second out of the inning. Despite managing three hits in the inning, the Jaguars managed just one run in the inning.
Denney came in relief of junior Missy Blackburn (Sioux Falls) in the fifth to get her second win of the day on the mound. She allowed one hit and one run in 3.1 innings of work, striking out one. Blackburn had a solid outing, going 4.2 innings, and allowing two earned runs and six hits.