BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU)– South Dakota State will make its third consecutive Summit League championship game appearance as the Jackrabbits defeated South Dakota on Friday, 3-0, in an elimination meeting at Jackrabbit Softball Stadium.
The Coyotes, who defeated the Jacks 2-0 in SDSU’s conference tournament debut on Thursday, lost their winners bracket contest to Omaha 14-2 in five innings to open the day. South Dakota then had to turn around and face the Jackrabbits who had rebounded to earn a 10-2 win in five innings Thursday evening over North Dakota State.
Both teams had chances to take momentum of the contest early.
The Coyotes got a runner to first base in the first, then had runners on first and second in the second, but each time South Dakota State starting pitcher Tori Kniesche worked her way out of danger to escape the two frames.
SDSU’s Mia Jarecki led the bottom of the first off with a single, but was eventually left stranded on third as Coyote pitcher Clara Edwards got out of the inning unscathed.
The Jacks took the lead in the third. Alli Boyle walked and Brooke Dumont hit a single to put two runners on with no outs. Following a one-out infield popup, Allison Yoder drew a walk to load the bases. Rozelyn Carrillo hit a groundout in the next at-bat that scored pinch runner Emma Christensen and put SDSU ahead 1-0. Jocelyn Carrillo plated a run as USD committed an error in the infield allowing Dumont to score and made it a 2-0 ballgame.
SDSU extended its lead to 3-0 in the fifth. Jarecki, after reaching on a fielder’s choice, stole second base with one out then moved to third on a Yoder ground out. Another miscue by the Coyote infield allowed Jarecki to score on a Rozelyn Carrillo at bat to give the Jackrabbits a three-run cushion.
Kniesche closed out a complete-game scoreless shutout with a strong final two innings. She kept the Yotes off the board as she went seven innings allowing four hits, along with two hit batters and walk, while she struck out 10.
SDSU recorded just four hits in the game with Dumont accounting for two of them, Jarecki a single and Emma Osmundson a double. Rozelyn Carrillo had the Jackrabbits’ lone RBI in the contest. South Dakota’s Edwards pitched six innings for the Coyotes allowing three runs (one earned) as she walked two batters and struck out one.
- The Jackrabbits improved to 37-16 overall this season. South Dakota’s season ended with a 24-28 record.
- South Dakota State advances to its fourth Summit League championship game appearance. The Jackrabbits have won the last two tournament titles while they lost in 2018 to NDSU.
- Both of SDSU’s last two championships have seen the Jacks face Omaha in the title game. The Jackrabbits earned two wins over the Mavs to claim the Summit League crown in 2021, while Omaha forced an ‘if necessary’ game against the Jacks a season ago before SDSU closed out a win.
- Kniesche improved to 22-5 overall on the season. Her win total is the most for her in a single season and is tied for second most ever in a season by a Jackrabbit pitcher. Kniesche’s tally trails only Madison Hope’s 23 set in 2018.
The Jackrabbits and Mavericks are slated to square off for The Summit League Championship at 1 p.m. on Saturday. If the Jackrabbits win the opening contest and an ‘if necessary’ game is needed, that is currently scheduled for 3:30 p.m.