FORT COLLINS, Colo. (SDSU) – South Dakota State lost a 6-3 decision to Iowa on Friday at the National Invitational Softball Championship, then recovered in the consolation bracket to defeat Tarleton State 11-1 in five innings to close out the double-elimination portion of the tournament. The Jackrabbits’ victory moved them into the NISC semifinals Saturday where they’ll take on BYU.
Game 1 (vs. Iowa)
The Hawkeyes jumped ahead of the Jacks 6-0 in the first two innings and never looked back in the winner’s bracket contest.
Iowa came to bat in the bottom of the first and used three hits and a walk to take an early 3-0 advantage. SDSU got runners to first and third in the second inning, but couldn’t plate a runner.
Jackrabbit starter Shannon Lasey was chased out of the game as the Hawkeyes picked up two walks and two singles to begin the second inning. They’d utilize another single and a fielder’s choice to complete all the scoring they needed in the game.
Alexa Williams came on in relief to pitch for SDSU and made up for the Jackrabbits’ three runs in the contest. Jocelyn Carrillo reached base in the sixth with a lead-off single and Emma Osmundson got on by a fielder’s choice. Williams crushed a home run over the right-field fence to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Cheyanne Masterson followed with a double off the left-field wall, however two consecutive outs ended SDSU’s threat as Iowa eventually closed out a win over the Jacks.
Lasey fell to 15-7 overall on the season for SDSU. Williams came in and threw five innings of scoreless relief. She allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out two batters. Williams also had a game-high two hits. She was joined by Carrillo who was 2-for-3 at the plate.
Game 2 (vs. Tarleton State)
A familiar foe waited for the Jackrabbits in an elimination meeting as Tarleton State beat UC Davis in the game prior to SDSU’s to stay alive in the tournament. The Jacks made quick work of the Texans to complete a season sweep of four contests between the two sides.
SDSU almost took an early advantage by loading the bases in the first. Tarleton State got out of the jam by preventing a sacrifice fly thanks to a heave from the right fielder to the catcher with Mia Jarecki being called out at the plate. After that point, it was all Jackrabbits.
The Jacks essentially closed the contest out in the second as they scored eight runs in the inning. South Dakota State produced seven hits and took advantage of an error to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the frame.
The Texans hit a solo home run off SDSU starter Tori Kniesche in the second, and added a single in the inning, but those two hits would be the lone ones for Tarleton State in the ballgame.
Osmundson accounted for the Jackrabbits’ next three runs as her two-run double in the third and sacrifice fly in the fifth made it an 11-1 score.
Nine Jackrabbits registered a combined 11 hits in the victory over the Texans which included a pinch hit by Chiara Bassi. Osmundson was 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBIs while Carrillo scored three runs. Allison Yoder scored two runs and had two RBIs as well.
Kniesche picked up the win to improve to 24-6 overall this season. She tossed a complete game two-hitter giving up one run on three walks while striking out five.
- Kniesche became SDSU’s single season record holder in wins with 24 behind her victory over Tarleton State. The previous record of 23 had been held by Madison Hope who set it in 2018.
- Williams’s appearance in the circle for the Jacks was her first in over a month. It also was her first scoreless appearance of more than one inning since facing Tarleton State on March 4.
- The Jackrabbits are now 39-18 overall following the split of NISC contests on Friday.
South Dakota State is slated to BYU in the semifinals of the NISC at 10 a.m. CT on Saturday at Red Rocks Field in Fort Collins. The Cougars are undefeated in NISC play with consecutive victories over San Jose State (5-2) and Maryland (6-4). The tournament is now single elimination, which means the winner will advance to the NISC Championship game which takes place at 4 p.m. CT on Saturday. The other semifinal game features a Big Ten foray between Maryland against Iowa. Streams for all of Saturday’s action are available on Triple Crown Sports’ YouTube page.