Softball strikes out on homestand

The SDSU softball team could not elude The University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, suffering a three game sweep on their home field.

Saturday’s loss marked the Jackrabbit’s 12th straight loss, and the team has yet to win a game in the month of April.

The Jacks appeared to be in good position to stop the streak at nine games when they entered the sixth inning of Friday’s series opener tied at zero. 

The wheels came off in the top of the sixth though, when Ashlyn Bender who had been strong all day for the Jacks gave up four runs. 

“I think Ash threw some good pitches to that kid and ended up walking that first run in,” said head coach Alex Hupp. “Being a freshman she puts so much pressure on herself. I think honestly the team just let down. The world ended for a second.” 

She was also charged with two runs in the seventh before Jennifer Sutton came in to record the final three outs.

UNO’s Dana Elsasser earned the win with her complete game shutout of the Jacks in which she recorded six strikeouts and only allowed four hits and a walk. 

Katie Lang started Friday’s second game for the Jacks, but was chased after just an inning in the third during which she surrendered eight runs, only three of them earned. 

Sutton would replace Lang to finish the game and held the Mavericks scoreless until she gave up three in the sixth.

Cheyenne Baxter proved nearly as potent as her predecessor, allowing only three hits and two runs in six innings of play en route to the 11-2 victory.

Sammy Bingham led the SDSU offense in the game, leading off with a triple in the fourth and scoring on a grounder to second base by Emily Utech. Bingham later knocked in Alyssa D’ Agostino for the Jacks’ second run.

“Sammy’s meant a lot,” Hupp said. “She’s such a great kid, the way she works and the way that she’s open to adjustments. We changed up her stance a bit and it’s kind of opened up the game for her.” 

Saturday, the Jacks again found themselves competitive early on. After Bender gave up two runs to start the game, the offense answered the bottom of the inning when Bingham singled and later scored on a balk. 

Then, after Bender surrendered three in the top of the third, the Jackrabbits came right back. 

Bingham led off the inning with an infield single. Kelly Kleppin single moved her over to second and then a soft groundout by Elyze Eitel at the plate moved them into scoring position for Devan Larsen who doubled to centerfield. She later came in to score on a two-out single by Allison Huffman. 

One run is as close as SDSU would get though as Bender gave up three in the fourth and two more in the fifth before being pulled in favor of Sutton who pitched the last two and two-thirds, giving up two more runs on four hits and a pair of walks.

Though not matching the numbers from her first performance, Elsasser earned her 20th win of the season with the Mavericks 12-4 victory. Elsasser pitched a complete game, striking out eight and giving up eight hits and a pair of walks.

“Compared to yesterday, today having eight hits and scoring four runs, that’s progress for us,” Hupp said. “That’s exactly what we were doing a little bit earlier in the year and now just getting back to that, putting in the extra swings and trusting that we’ll square it up when we need to.”

The Jackrabbits will return to action on Wednesday at 2 p.m. when they will host Dakota Wesleyan in a doubleheader as they prepare for the USD rivalry on Friday and Saturday.

“We’re coming out to get some wins on the board, to come out and want it a little bit,” Hupp said. “USD next weekend is going to be huge. We always need that showdown battle and are looking forward to it.”