VERMILLION, S.D. (USD) —It was a senior day that won’t be forgotten. South Dakota trailed 7-0 before scoring nine runs – all with two outs – in the fourth inning en route to a 12-8 win against St. Thomas Sunday at Nygaard Field.
It is the program’s largest comeback at the Division I level and in 18 years overall. The Coyotes (22-23, 11-6 Summit) won all three games during the weekend series to move within a half game of North Dakota State for third place in the Summit League standings. St. Thomas (16-34, 4-13), which competed in Vermillion for the first time, is trying to hold on to the sixth and final spot with one weekend remaining.
South Dakota allowed just four hits in a doubleheader sweep of St. Thomas Saturday. The Tommies had seven runs on nine hits in less than four innings of play Sunday and was seemingly heading to a five-inning victory. Their starting pitcher, Keira Murphy, was flawless through three innings and got two quick outs to start the bottom of the fourth.
Then USD flipped the switch.
It started with an innocent single by Bela Goerke through the left side of the infield, the first hit surrendered by Murphy. Clara Edwards walked and Jordyn Pender put the Coyotes on the board with a base hit down the right field line that made it 7-1.
Tatum Villotta followed suit with a base hit to right to make it 7-2 and Gabby Moser roped a single up the middle that made it 7-3. Moser was 4-for-8 during the three-game series with four RBIs.
Alecea Mendoza hit a rocket off Murphy for another single and Courtney Wilson drew a bases-loaded walk that made it 7-4. Game two starter Isabelle True relieved Murphy and was greeted with a bases-clearing double to the wall in right by Aleesia Sainz and the game was tied at 7-7.
The inning continued with a double to center by Delaney White that put South Dakota ahead and Goerke’s second base hit of the inning scored White and made it 9-7.
That was nine runs on eight hits – all with two outs.
Pender, one of the five seniors honored in a postgame ceremony, hit a no-doubt bomb to right field to lead off the fifth inning that made it 10-7. It was her fifth home run of the season and 12th of her career. South Dakota tacked on two unearned runs in the sixth to complete the scoring.
Kori Wedeking, who tossed a one-hit shutout Saturday, was the benefactor of all the runs. She entered the circle in the third inning and pitched five innings to pick up her second win of the series.
Pender, Sainz, Wilson, Charis Black and Mia Kraimer were the five seniors competing at Nygaard Field for the final time. Wilson scored her 100th and 101st career runs Sunday and stands with 199 career hits. The Coyotes conclude the regular season next weekend in Brookings against a South Dakota State team that is 14-0 in Summit play.