Softball focused to break losing streak at USD this weekend

By ANDREW HOLTAN Sports Editor

The South Dakota State softball team has been struggling lately. They fell to 13-21 on the season, after losing all three games against IUPUI over the weekend in Indianapolis and have lost six straight games.

These were the first three games in the Summit League for the Jacks. SDSU head coach Krista Wood said the team was excited to start conference play, but the loss in the first game influenced the other games.

“We were super prepared, but we just fell short in game one and that kind of carried the momentum for the rest of the weekend,” Wood said.

SDSU out-hit IUPUI in two of the three games, but failed to produce runs as they lost 5-4, 6-1  and 5-2.

“We are hitting the ball and we have the mentality of ‘attack the ball.’ I think we’re doing a good job of getting on base. Now we just have to have someone step up and attack the ball with runners in scoring position,” Wood said.

The Jacks will try to do just that on the road in Vermillion April 1 and 2, when they take on the University of South Dakota in a three-game series.

USD comes into the match-up with an overall record of 10-19 and 1-2 in the Summit League. Wood said the Jacks are focused on breaking the losing streak this weekend.

“We’ve been talking about confidence and positive imagery,” Wood said. “Our players know they can do it, but it’s just having confidence and doing it.”

The Jacks are led in almost every offensive statistical category by sophomore first baseman Ali Herdliska. She has 34 hits, two home runs and is hitting .333. 

“She’s been very solid throughout our offensive lineup,” Wood said.

Wood said Herdliska has been performing well and so has the pitching staff.

“Now it’s just a matter of playing some better defense and that will allow us to win or stay in all of our games,” Wood said.

The Jacks have recorded a total of 45 errors, while their opponents have recorded 36.

SDSU’s goal at the beginning of the season to finish in the top four of the Summit League and make it to the Summit League Tournament. Starting 0-3, though, is not putting them on the right track to do so.

“It was definitely not the way we wanted to start off, but there’s a lot of Summit League play left and we have to take care of business and play within ourselves and control what we can control,” Wood said.

SDSU has played on the road every game this season and still have seven more to go before they take homefield April 14 at the Jackrabbit Softball Complex for their home opener. Wood said this has been tough on the team.

“We will have played 41 games on the road before we play at home and it’s actually going to end up being over two months on the road and I think that sometimes plays a role in why we fell short this weekend,” Wood said.

The first game of the series between SDSU and USD starts at 12 p.m. April 1, at Nygaard Field.