MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois softball dropped its first two Summit League contests of the 2013 season to South Dakota 6-5 and 4-1 at Mary Ellen McKee Stadium on Friday (Mar. 15). The Leathernecks drop to 5-9 overall and 0-2 in conference play, while the Coyotes improve to 18-10 all-together and 2-0 in league action.
Game #1 Friday, Mar. 15 at 3 p.m.
South Dakota 6, Western Illinois 5
The Leathernecks saw its 5-0 lead disappear in the latter innings of their conference opener as Coyotes completed the comeback to record the 6-5 final victory.
Western jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Megg Kelly knocked a solo home run over the fence in left field in the second. She has now hit a home run in back-to-back contests, as she went yard against Harvard on Mar. 10.
After the defense retired the Coyotes in order in the top of the inning, Western added two more runs in the third. Karissa Kouchis walked and Briana Williams singled to second to open the frame, then Emma Jarrell moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. A squeeze bunt from Lia Romeo followed by a passed plated the runs extending the Leatherneck advantage to 3-0.
In the fourth, a two-out rally produced two more Leatherneck runs. Williams ripped a two-RBI triple to left bring Tierney Bottino and Kouchis, who reached on a walk and a single respectively, around to score.
South Dakota took its first bite out of the 6-0 Western Illinois lead in the top of the sixth inning. After two walks and a single through the right side loaded the bases, Katie Cochran used a bases-clearing triple to plate three and force a Leatherneck pitching change.
With two outs on the board and one out away from defeat in the seventh, the Coyotes hit a double to keep the game going. A walk followed by a two-RBI double knotted the game five all. A single plated the third run of the contest from second giving South Dakota its first lead of the ballgame 6-5.
The Leathernecks saw three reach on a trio of walks to load the bases, but could not push one across ending the game 6-5 in favor of South Dakota.
Teagan Walsh was tagged with the loss in the circle moving her mark to 1-1 on the season. In her 1.1 innings of work she allowed three earned runs and fanned one. Coyote Missy Blackburn (3-1) was credited with the win. She held the Leathernecks scoreless in her 3.1 innings of relief tallying two strikeouts.
Williams turned in the only multiple hit performance of the day for Western going 2-for-4 with a triple and notched a team-most two RBI. Kelly and Romeo picked up one RBI apiece.
Game #2 Friday, Mar. 15 at 5 p.m.
South Dakota 4, Western Illinois 1
The Coyotes used a sacrifice fly to plate one in the top of the first and never faltered playing to a 4-1 final victory over the Leathernecks in game two of the double header on Friday (Mar. 15).
In the top of the fourth, South Dakota drew a leadoff walk followed by a bunt single to put two on. A single from the bat of Katie Cochran followed by a Lindsey Boyd double brought home three runs and extended the Coyote lead to 4-0.
Western picked up its lone run of the contest in the bottom of the fourth. Megg Kelly doubled to right center and was replaced on the basepaths by pinch runner Ryleigh Sears who moved up on a groundout and came around to score on a passed ball.
A scoreless fifth, sixth and seventh innings put the final 4-1 loss in the books for Western. The Leathernecks left seven total runners on base and could not capitalize on a bases loaded opportunity in the second.
Madison Frain (4-6) recorded the complete game win in the circle holding Western to three hits and tallying six strikeouts. Teagan Walsh took her second loss of the day bringing her record to 1-2 on the year.
The final game of the Summit League series will be played at 12 p.m. on Saturday (Mar. 16) at Mary Ellen McKee Stadium in Macomb.