St. PAUL, MN (USD) – South Dakota’s Tatum Villotta had a season-high four hits and Aleesia Sainz had a career-high five RBIs, but it was an unlikely hero for St. Thomas who stole the show Sunday. Sydney Mickett’s two-run single with two outs completed a four-run rally that gave the Tommies an 8-7 win in the third and final game of a weekend series at South Field.
Mickett, a sophomore shortstop, had one hit on the season entering play. She filled in for injured starter Brooke Ellestad, the Tommies’ leading hitter who went down during Saturday’s twin bill. Mickett went 4-for-4 with three RBIs including the game winner to give St. Thomas its first home win at the Division I level.
It was a crushing blow for South Dakota (20-17, 5-4 Summit) which had rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 7-4 lead in a bid to earn its first sweep in Summit play. Rylee Nicholson’s second triple in as many days put the Coyotes ahead 5-4 and Sainz followed with her Summit-leading 11th home run of the season to make it 7-4. South Dakota’s first four hitters combined for nine of the team’s 10 hits Sunday.
Unlike Saturday when the Tommies had no answers for Coyote pitching, they had all the answers Sunday. USD was cruising right along until Cassidy Carby and Megan Baniecke hit back-to-back homers with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to give St. Thomas its first lead of the series at 2-1.
South Dakota quickly answered with two runs on a base hit by Sainz in the top of the fifth. They scored Villotta and Wilson who led off the inning with hits. Sainz was 6-for-11 in the series with eight RBIs.
The lead held until the bottom of the sixth when South Dakota had trouble finding the zone. Coyote pitchers walked five batters in the sixth and seventh innings and three of them came around to score. St. Thomas (9-26, 4-5) scored its final six runs on five hits – two off the bat of Mickett.
Villotta was 8-for-12 with a double and five runs scored during the series. She also stole two bases. South Dakota hit .381 (37-for-97) during the weekend with 26 runs.