Softball’s two wins bring in two Summit Peak Performers

Evan Patzwald, Co-Sports Editor (He/Him)

After two wins at a neutral site in Fargo against UND, the South Dakota State softball team had two players named Summit League Peak Performers of the week for their performances.

Infielder Rozelyn Carillo and pitcher Tori Kniesche were both honored by the conference for their contributions to both Jackrabbit victories over the weekend and earlier in the week against NDSU, improving their conference record to 11-0 and 29-15 overall.

Carillo, the reigning Summit League Player of the Year, scored a team-high six runs and produced three RBIs over the four-game stretch. This was Carillo’s fourth time winning the award in her career and first time this season.

“Roz brings so many intangibles to the table,” coach Kristina McSweeney said of Carillo. “On the field, she’s our captain. She does a phenomenal job of keeping our defense intact, does a really good job communicating and never lets little things get away from her. In the box, she hasn’t had that monster year that she had last year, but I’m starting to see what we all know of Roz and that she’s incredible.”

Kniesche threw for 15 innings over the four wins and only gave up four hits. She struck out 26 batters and did not allow a single run. It has been 57 2/3 innings that Kniesche has pitched in Summit League games since she’s given up a run. This was Kniesche’s 13th time winning a player of the week award in the Summit League, and fifth time this season.

Coming into the weekend, the Jacks were slated to have a three-game series with the Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks, but it had to be moved to Fargo for a doubleheader because of unfavorable weather conditions.

The two teams squared off Sunday afternoon, and SDSU swept UND to extend their win streak and undefeated conference record with six games left in the season.

In the first game, the Jacks rolled out to an 8-0 victory after scoring six runs combined in the fifth and sixth innings. In the second game of the day, the Fighting Hawks were able to get a run in the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough as SDSU completed the series sweep 6-1. With the losses, North Dakota dropped to 8-35 on the year.

Alexa Williams played well for the Jacks in the time she was given on the field, with four hits and three runs driven in overall.

“Alexa has been one of those that we’ve given tons and tons of chances and she just continues to get better,” McSweeney said. “Every opportunity we give her, she takes advantage of it. She’s just a power hitter and she gives you a chance to put it over the wall.”

Up next for the Jacks is a three-game series on the road with Kansas City. They’ve got a doubleheader Saturday at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and finish it off Sunday at 11 a.m. The Roos currently sit in last place in the conference with a 3-12 record and 8-37 overall. They are coming off of a series with Western Illinois on the road, where they won two out of the three games.

“Just watching the Roos play, offensively they battle, they make adjustments in the box late in the game and they don’t go down quietly,” McSweeney said ahead of their next matchup. “The key for us is going to be controlling what we can control.”

After next weekend, the Jacks have one more home series left with rival USD May 5-6. The games will be played at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. May 5 and at 12 p.m. May 6 to wrap up the regular season. The Coyotes are currently 19-21 and 8-6 in the Summit League.