Softball on four-win streak

By HALEY PRATT Assistant Sports Editor

The Jackrabbits sealed a perfect weekend in Conway, Ark. for the Central Arkansas Invitational; the first four-win streak for the team since 2010. 

“The team really pulled together this past weekend and this staff is very proud of the girls,” Coach Hupp said. 

South Dakota State went into the Central Arkansas Invitational having dropped five games at the UTA Maverick Invitational the previous weekend.  

The Jacks improved to 2-8 with a win over the University Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday to start off the weekend. The Golden Lions fell to 1-2. 

Devan Larsen, Elyse Eitel and Sammy Bingham each finished with three hits in the game, with both Eitel and Larsen scoring a run and adding a two RBI.

KayCee Miller hit her inaugural Jackrabbit career homerun in the second inning that put the Jacks up 3-0 with two runs scored. 

Ashlyn Bender threw the game to boost her record to 2-3. Her game featured a season-high nine strikeouts, scattering eight hits and giving up only three walks and three runs. 

The Jacks scored seven runs in the first five innings. The Golden Lions answered in the top of the sixth with two consecutive hits from Teresa Jacobs and Paige Garcia. 

UAPB’s sophomore outfielder Jasmine Hardwrick brought the score to 7-2 with a single up the middle. 

The Jackrabbits would add on two more runs in the top of the sixth to hold on for the win. 

SDSU started Saturday off with a 10-1 victory over UAPB early in the day.  

The first four SDSU batters scored, leading the Jacks to an early 4-0 lead. The Jacks added three more in the third and six more in the sixth. 

SDSU gave up a single run in the bottom of the sixth to secure a shortened game. 

The Jackrabbits then landed  a win over Alabama State with a 10-9 victory. 

The Hornets scored a run in the top of the first when Valerie Centeno scored on a single by Aleesa Yanez. Meagan Dixon later hit a homerun in the fourth to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead. 

The Jacks scored three runs in the bottom of the half. 

In the fifth inning, ASU’s Meagan Dixon and Jasmine James scored on fielding errors before SDSU countered with two runs of their own. 

SDSU’s Samantha Terry and Sammy Bingham contributed one and two RBIs, respectively in the seventh to tie the game. The Jacks scored a single run to win 10-9. 

In the fourth and final game of the weekend, Jennifer Sutton pitched the entire game to level her record at 2-2, giving up two runs to eight hits, two strikeouts and three walks. 

Weber led the Jacks with a walk, double, RBI and one run scored. Also scoring a double was Allison Huffman who also contributed a pair of RBIs. 

A scoreless tie through the top of the third inning was broken by the Jackrabbits after an Eitel single to centerfield, sending Weber to third and Kelly Kleppin home to score. 

Central Arkansas tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh, loading bases with a fielding error and two walks but were ultimately shut down by SDSU’s Sutton. 

“Jen had a good weekend for her on the mount and that was huge for us,” Hupp said. 

A fielder’s choice from Sam Forrest drove in Randi Wallace to cut the lead to 6-2 before ending the rally with a ground out. 

The Bears fell to 4-10 as the Jackrabbits advanced to 5-8. 

“Both sides of the ball are not where we want just yet,” Hupp said. “But that is not going to take away from the fight that the girls showed this weekend going undefeated.”

The Jackrabbits aim to lengthen their win streak next weekend on Saturday in Evansville, Ind. in the Evansville Invitational.