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May 11, 2018 08:42 PM

SDSU Advances To Summit League Softball Championship

FARGO, N.D. - No. 2 seed South Dakota State used some late-inning magic to extend its stay at the 2018 Summit League Championship Friday.

After dropping a championship semifinal bout with North Dakota State, 4-0, senior Abbey Murphy provided the fireworks in an elimination game against Omaha with a three-run home run in the seventh to lift the Jackrabbits to a 4-3 win.

The Jackrabbits (34-15) advanced to Saturday's championship game for the first time in school history with the victory and are now two wins away from a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Championship Semifinal: North Dakota State 4, South Dakota State 0
SDSU drew four walks in the game, as Abbey Murphy, Brittney Morse, Lyndsey Crist and Paige Gerdes worked free passes.

Madison Hope was dealt the loss, throwing five complete innings with three runs (two earned) allowed. She gave up three hits and struck out three. Taylor Compton threw the sixth with one run allowed.

North Dakota State's Jacquelyn Sertic did not allow a hit as the Bison improved to 32-17 and earned a spot in the championship game.

NDSU took a 3-0 lead in the second, capitalizing on a pair of hits and an SDSU error on its way to the early advantage.

The Jacks loaded the bases in the top of the fourth after a dropped third strike and consecutive two-out walks from Brittney Morse and Lyndsey Crist, but a near-grand slam from Erin Mullen in the next at-bat fell a few steps short of leaving the deepest part of the park.

The Bison added another in the sixth on a solo home run and held off the Jackrabbit rally for the win.

Consolation Semifinal: South Dakota State 4, Omaha 3
The Jackrabbits bounced back with a nine-hit effort in the second game of the day, led by Murphy's dramatic three-run home run and a two-hit, one-RBI effort from Ali Herdliska.

Hope (21-7) worked around 12 hits in the game, allowing three hits with three strikeouts for the complete game win.

Omaha scored first, using a two-out RBI single in the second to take a 1-0 lead, though State responded with a run of its own in the third.

Andersen took a two-out pitch into the right-center gap for her 19th double of the season and wheeled around to beat the throw to the plate when Herdliska poked a single to right.

The Mavericks took back the lead with a solo home run in the fourth and extended their advantage to 3-1 with a two-out RBI single in the sixth.

Down to their last chance, Paige Gerdes sparked a Jackrabbit rally with heads-up baserunning in the first at-bat of the seventh, turning a bloop hit to right into a leadoff double before Mullen followed with an infield single.

With runners on first and third, Murphy found a perfect moment for her first home run of the season, launching a 3-2 pitch over the center field fence to swing the momentum in South Dakota State's favor and give the Jacks a 4-3 lead.

In the lead for the first time all day, the Jackrabbits worked around a one-out single and finished it with two consecutive strikeouts from Hope.

Game Notes
  • South Dakota State is 3-6 all-time in The Summit League Championship and earned the program's first-ever championship game berth.
  • The Jackrabbits are 1-2 this season against North Dakota State and 3-1 against Omaha in 2018.
  • Julia Andersen tied Elyse Eitel's single-season record for doubles (19) with a two-bagger in the third against Omaha.
  • Madison Hope is now one win shy of Melissa Peter's school-record 22 wins in a season, set in 1996.

Up Next
South Dakota State advances to Saturday's championship game for a rematch with North Dakota State. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., with an if-necessary game to follow at 3:30 p.m.

Courtesy: SDSU
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