BROOKINGS, S.D. (USD) — South Dakota scored twice in the third inning and Clara Edwards and the Coyote defense made that lead stand in a 2-0 win against North Dakota Wednesday in the opening game of the Summit League Tournament at Jackrabbit Softball Stadium.
South Dakota (23-26) improved to 3-0 against North Dakota (12-38) this season. The fourth-seeded Coyotes advance to face top-seeded South Dakota State at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Alecea Mendoza was 2-for-2 and roped a double to help set the table in South Dakota’s run-scoring frame. Gabby Moser drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Mendoza’s double. Tatum Villotta’s groundout to the right side scored Moser and Mendoza scored one batter later when Courtney Wilson beat out an infield single.
That was enough for Edwards (14-10) who tossed her fifth shutout of the season and second against North Dakota. Edwards allowed five hits, walked two and struck out four. She caught a line drive and turned it into a double play to end the second inning. That was just one of USD’s defensive highlights.

Center fielder Courtney Wilson snagged a line drive and doubled off Katie Joten at second base for the first two outs of the fourth inning. It was the 21st career outfield assist for Wilson and second in her last four games.
The final inning certainly had drama. Madison Pederson led off with a base hit up the middle. Mariah Peters followed with a ground ball to shortstop. Tatum Villotta threw wide up the base line with her throw over and first baseman Delaney White collided with Peters who continued to first. USD challenged the call, arguing Peters was on the wrong side of the foul line. She was, but it was ruled White didn’t have a play on the ball and Peters was allowed to stay.
The Hawks bunted the runners to second and third, Sainz caught a line drive at third for the second out of the inning and fielded a ball in the hole and threw out Taya Hopfauf for the final out.
Mendoza has started 24 games this season but was penciled in as the designated player for just the third time. She notched her third multi-hit game of the season.