BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU) – The Jackrabbit softball team wrapped up the 2019 regular season with a rout of rival South Dakota Saturday, rolling to a 14-2 win in five innings to clinch the series.
South Dakota State (34-15, 11-7 Summit League) had 12 hits in the game, as three Jackrabbits turned in multi-hit efforts. Mallory McQuistan was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, Yanney Ponce had three hits, a career-high five RBIs and a three-run home run, and Caelyn Christiancy was 2-for-2 with a double.
Ali Herdliska added a three-run blast of her own, while Lyndsey Crist, McQuistan and Christiancy all drove in a pair of runs.
Kendra Conard (15-3) allowed two runs over five complete, scattering seven hits without allowing a walk.
After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first, the Jackrabbits opened up a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the inning with a trio of two-out hits. Peyton Daugherty led off with a walk, and with two gone Megan Rushing worked a free pass of her own to put a runner in scoring position. Crist floated a ball to left that dropped in safely as both runners came around to score, and McQuistan followed with a drive up the middle that rolled all the way to the fence.
Ahead 3-0 at that point, Ponce followed with an RBI single to left that dropped in front a diving Coyote, and after Baily Janssen extended the inning with another Jackrabbit walk, Christiancy roped a double to center that cleared the bases and put State in front, 6-0.
The Jackrabbit defense turned in a quick 1-2-3 inning in the second, and the bats continued to roll in the bottom of the inning as SDSU stretched its advantage to 10 with another two-out rally.
Andersen singled in the first at-bat of the inning, and though USD again got two quick outs, Crist worked a full-count walk and McQuistan brought a runner in with a single down the line. With two runners in scoring position, Ponce found an opportune time for her third home run of the season, launching a 2-2 pitch over the center field fence for a three-run home run.
A three-run blast from Herdliska made it 13-0 in SDSU’s favor in the bottom third after a fielder’s choice left Daugherty (who reached on a bunt single) at second and Andersen on first.
USD loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fourth, but Jacks avoided major damage and allowed just two runs in the frame, staying ahead of the run-rule margin with a 13-2 lead.
South Dakota State got one of those runs back after a McQuistan double and Ponce single in the fourth, and the Jackrabbits closed out the win with another three-up, three-down inning in the fifth.
South Dakota State now leads the SD Corn Showdown Series with South Dakota by three points.
Ali Herdliska hit her 45th career home run and is now three away from tying Bridgett Maxwell’s (WIU) Summit League record (48).
Kendra Conard is tied for eighth in the Jackrabbits’ single-season record book with 15 wins.
Ali Herdliska’s 13 home runs this season is the second-most in a single-season at South Dakota State, trailing only her own 16-home run mark as a freshman and Devan Larsen’s 16 home runs in 2015.
South Dakota State will its final seeding for the 2019 Summit League Softball Championship on Sunday. Games begin Wednesday in Fargo, North Dakota, and the Jacks will be either the third or fourth seed, depending on the Omaha-Western Illinois series outcome.