Nothing but ‘goose eggs’ for Leathernecks

Jackrabbits outscore Western Illinois 26-0 in three-game Summit sweep


Joclyn Haven

South Dakota State’s Grace Glanzer pitching in a Summit League softball game Saturday against Western Illinois at Jackrabbit Softball Stadium. Glanzer pitched in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader and posted six strikeouts.

Skyler Jackson, Sports Editor (He/Him)

The South Dakota State softball team played its first home games of the season last weekend, posting three-straight shutouts of Western Illinois.

The Jackrabbits shut out the Leathernecks 18-0 across two games in Saturday’s doubleheader before closing the series Sunday with an 8-0 win and their first Summit League series sweep this season.

The Jackrabbits are now 25-9 on the season and 7-2 in conference play. Prior to last weekend, they won two of three against USD in Vermillion, including a 20-0 shutout in game two.

They were then scheduled for an April 6 doubleheader at Minnesota, but it was canceled because of weather.

In game one against WIU, both teams were scoreless until the fifth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Jocelyn Carrillo started the scoring for SDSU with a solo home run to center field. Later in the inning, Peyton Daugherty added another run before Cylie Halvorson extended the lead to 4-0 with a two-run homer, her ninth of the season.

In the sixth, Brooke Dumont and Tori Tollefson each added home runs to make the final score 8-0. Grace Glanzer pitched for SDSU and earned her 13th win of the season, striking out six batters and getting key outs to keep SDSU in the game.

“I think we were a little anxious swinging outside of the (strike) zone a little bit early,” Wood said. “I think once we kind of settled in a little bit and started to swing within the strike zone, it helped us put some runs on the board.”

In game two of the doubleheader, the Jackrabbits wasted no time, exploding for 10 runs in the first two innings.

“That was big for us,” Halvorson said. “Because when you come out and score in back to back (innings), that’s really hard for a team to come back from so that definitely helped us there.”

In the first inning, Emma Osmundson scored on a Leatherneck pitching error that put the Jacks ahead 1-0, followed by runs from Carrillo, Halvorson and Kelsey Lenox. In the second, SDSU scored six more runs, highlighted by a three-run shot from Cheyanne Masterson that extended SDSU’s lead to 10.

From there, the Jacks cruised to their second straight shutout, thanks to a dominant pitching performance from Tori Kniesche, who struck out 11 and allowed only one hit.

“I just trusted my defense, my coach calling up the pitches and the catchers,” Kniesche said. “It just all came together today.”

Game three on Sunday, another 8-0 shoutout, was highlighted by home runs.

SDSU hit five home runs in the game, matching the school record for homers in a single game in the Division I era. Masterson hit her second and third home runs of the weekend, one in the first inning to put SDSU on the board and another in the fourth.

Halvorson homered in the third inning for a 2-0 lead. In the fourth inning, Rozelyn Carrillo hit a two-run shot and Lindsey Culver hit a three-run blast. Masterson’s solo homer followed to cap off a six-run inning.

Kniesche, who was selected as Summit League Pitcher of the Week, again pitched for SDSU. For the second consecutive game, she posted 11 strikeouts and allowed only one hit.

After setting nearly every program record they could last year, preseason expectations for this year’s team were pretty high.

SDSU went 43-8 last year, including 21-1 in conference play. They won their first Summit League Championship title in program history and beat Stanford 7-1 in their NCAA Tournament debut before getting eliminated.

This year, it’s been a bit more of an up-and-down season for the Jackrabbits. After their 9-7 record to begin the year, they’ve gone 16-2 since and are winning games in a dominant fashion. But SDSU still thinks they have room to improve.

“I don’t think we’ve peaked yet,” Halvorson said. “And that’s a good thing. But hopefully, soon we’ll be coming out hot every game.”

The Jackrabbits now sit atop the Summit League standings with a 7-2 record. They lead the conference in team batting average (.303), home runs (47) and RBIs (197). They also boast the top pitching duo in the conference. Glanzer is 13-3 this season with a 2.12 ERA and 96 strikeouts. Kniesche is 11-5 with a 1.78 ERA and 153 strikeouts.

“I think we’re still on our way to playing our best softball,” Wood said. “I think we’re still learning, we’re still growing and I’m excited for that because hopefully, we’ll peak at the right time.”

Up next for the Jackrabbits is their makeup game at Minnesota, the Wednesday before heading back home for a three-game series against Kansas City Friday and Saturday.