VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) — South Dakota sophomore pitcher Clara Edwards threw the program’s first no-hitter since 2009 and drove in two runs in a 3-0 win against Western Illinois Saturday at Nygaard Field.
It came in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader that was delayed three hours due to rain. Game two was suspended due to darkness with the teams tied at 6-6 after seven innings. It will resume Sunday at 11 a.m. with the third and final game of the series to follow.
Edwards threw her 10th collegiate shutout and earned her 27th collegiate win, which ties for 10th on the program’s all-time wins list. She is the first Coyote to throw a no-hitter against a Division I opponent and joins alumna Brittany Donohue (2009) and Angela Palma (2005) as USD pitchers who have thrown no-hitters since 2000.
And she can hit. Edwards had two solid singles and accounted for two of USD’s five hits in game one. All of the scoring came with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Alecea Mendoza broke the ice against Leatherneck starter Emily Price with a base hit to right that scored Delaney White. Edwards followed suit with a drive to right field that scored Gabby Moser and Mendoza to make it 3-0.
Edwards and her defense took care of the rest. She struck out two and walked none. Off her 21 outs, 13 were ground balls and she needed less than 80 pitches to do the job. Alivia Conte at second base was the catalyst for two double plays and snagged a line drive to start the sixth inning that stole a hit away from WIU shortstop Malorie Gill. Edwards worked the heart of the Leathernecks’ order in the seventh and got a ground ball to shortstop Tatum Villotta for the final out.
Game two is a different story. Gabriela Drager led off the game for Western Illinois (7-26, 1-6 Summit) with a base hit back up the middle and the Leathernecks were all over USD starter Kori Wedeking. They led 4-0 after three innings and it could have been many more. WIU left two on in the first and left them loaded in the second and third innings.
Kynlee Marquez relieved Wedeking with one out and a runner on third in the top of the fourth with WIU leading 5-0. Aleesia Sainz snagged a line drive for out two and Marquez got a ground ball to strand the runner on third. That proved to be a key sequence.
South Dakota (18-17, 7-2) stormed back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Bela Goerke hit her fifth home run of the season, a three-run blast to right center, that quickly made it 5-3. Conte drove in a run later in the inning that made it 5-4.
Courtney Wilson tripled and scored in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 5-5 and back-to-back hit batsmen gave South Dakota a 6-5 lead.
That lead held until there were two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Western Illinois’ top hitter, Bella Alvarez, singled with two strikes to tie the game at 6-6. Marquez got out of the frame with a popup to give USD a chance to win it in the bottom half. Marquez allowed one run on five hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Goerke doubled in the bottom of the seventh with one out and likely would have scored on a single from Delaney White if not for the play of Gill. She dove to her right on White’s ground ball to the hole and got a glove on the ball. It scooted just a few feet away and Gill was able to track it down to prevent Goerke from heading home. Price, who entered game two in the fifth inning, then got a strikeout to end the inning. Play was suspended afterwards.
Goerke is 3-for-3 in game two and Gill has three hits as well. Both have driven in three runs. Western Illinois has totaled 16 hits in game two – 15 singles – while South Dakota has 10.