Jacks strike out on home turf

By ROBERT MYERS Sports Editor

 The SDSU softball team failed to defend their home turf against in-state rival USD, surrendering a three game sweep to end what was a difficult conference season for the Jackrabbits. 

The Jackrabbits entered the game having won two straight thanks to pair of wins against Dakota Wesleyan on Wednesday. That momentum had little effect on Friday’s games though as Rachel Cue and the Coyotes dominated the Jacks, winning 8-0 and 10-0. 

Cue went five innings in each game, games both shortened because the Coyotes led by at least eight runs. In the first game, Cue surrendered only one hit and faced the minimum 15 batters. 

“[She was] just up and we were dropping our barrels early in the swing,” head coach Alex Hupp said about what Cue was able to do against her team. 

In game two, Cue gave up a second hit to designated player Alyssa D’Agostino and later allowed hits to Allison Huffman and Vanessa Kellems, but that was all she surrendered. 

Offensively, the Coyotes scored early and often, and put runners on the base paths in every inning with the exception of the final inning of game two. 

Ashlyn Bender started game one for the Jacks and gave up all eight runs, but only two of them were earned runs, the Jacks having committed four errors in the game. 

The defense played a clean second game, but it did little to help Jennifer Sutton who gave up six earned runs on nine hits in just three innings of play, including Lindsey Boyd’s second home run of the day. 

Boyd finished the day going five for six with a walk, six runs, and five RBIs. USD hitters combined for 25 hits between the two games. 

“The ball starts in the circle and you can’t give up 14 hits [in game two],” Hupp said. “So with that said, having three base runners on all day, people striking out looking, we’re better than that individually and as a team.” 

Saturday’s game proved more promising for the Jacks. Again facing Cue, they scored their first run of the series in a fourth inning to take the lead. 

“We woke up in the morning and did a little team thing and everyone was just out here ready to play,” Hupp said. 

Equal to the task of facing Cue, Bender matched her, giving up only three hits in her seven innings complete game. 

Bender’s pitching proved not enough though as a pair of Jackrabbit errors in the sixth kept the inning alive and allowed the Coyotes to go up 2-1, a lead that one inning later would prove to be the final. 

With the loss, the Jackrabbits fall to 9-32 on the season and finish conference play 2-16. Prior to the conference tournament starting May 7 in Fargo, the Jacks will travel for a doubleheader against North Dakota on April 30 before returning home for a senior day doubleheader against Kansas City on May 3. 

“I think we’ve definitely come to that point where we have nothing to lose,” Hupp said. “There is nothing to lose and everything to gain when we step out on the field.” 

Hupp also said that they need to get back to hitting the way they were earlier in the year. Despite their record and struggles, they have displayed the pieces. It’s all about putting hitting, pitching and defense all together in their upcoming games.