Offensive surge helps Coyote Softball finish sweep of Western Illinois

Freshman Katie Dinning was 3-for-4 with four RBI to lead the University of South Dakota softball team's 12-hit offensive attack in the Coyotes' 11-3 win over Western Illinois Sunday in Vermillion. The win helped the Coyotes finished a three-game sweep of the Leathernecks (23-25, 13-8 Summit) and improved their Summit League record to 12-9.

 "Our girls played fearless today and it was great to see," USD head coach Amy Klyse said. "Western Illinois took the lead early and we chipped away right away. It was a great weekend to honor and celebrate our three seniors."

Dinning (Omaha) finished with a double and a triple in the game along with four RBI. Her three-run triple in the third was her team-best sixth triple of the year, setting a new school single-season record for triples. Junior Kassie Loe (Lennox, SD) was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while sophomore Lindsey Boyd (Westminster, CO) was 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a stolen base. Senior Alexa Rudeen (Sioux City, IA) was 1-for-2 with an RBI, while freshman Allie Daly (Sioux Falls) was 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Sophomore Christine Broders (Yankton) and freshman Morgan Hancock (Wahoo, NE) were each 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. All nine players in the Coyote batting lineup scored at least one run.

Junior Erica Denney (Sioux City) reached double-digit wins on the mound for the first time in her Coyote career. After allowing three first-inning runs, Denney settled down and didn't allow a run the rest of the way in picking up win No. 10 on the season. She allowed six hits and three runs (all earned), striking out three while walking two.

WIU, which was swept in a Summit League series for the first time this season, took a 3-0 in the first, thanks to three hits.

The Coyotes cut into the lead right away in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Rudeen walked, and moved to second when Daly singled to third base. Hancock hit a fly ball to right field which was dropped for an error, allowing both runners to score and bringing the Coyotes within 3-2.

They took the lead for good in the bottom of the second. Loe singled to right on a 0-2 pitch, and scored when Broders ripped a double down the left-field line, which tied the game at three. After Broders moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Stephanie Hall (Torrance, CA), Boyd crushed a double to left field, scoring Broders ands giving the Coyotes a 4-3 lead.

South Dakota broke the game wide open in the third. Daly led off with a walk, and Hancock ripped a double to left to score her, giving the Coyotes a 5-3 advantage. Hancock moved to third on the throw home, and scored South Dakota's sixth run on a wild pitch. Senior Bre Zmolek (Brookings) then walked, and Loe singled to put runners on first and second. One out later, Hall walked to load the bases. After a flyout, Dinning stepped up and ripped a bases-clearing triple to left-center field, giving the Coyotes a 9-3 lead. Rudeen then hit a single to left-center to score Dinning to extend the Coyote lead to 10-3.

The Coyotes finished the game off by the eight-run rule in the fifth. With one out, Boyd singled to left, and stole second. Dinning doubled to left, scoring Boyd with the Coyotes' 11th run.

South Dakota, which swept a Summit League foe for the second time this season, wraps up its 2012 season with a three-game series at Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne starting Friday in Fort Wayne, IN.

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