Leatherneck Softball Swept in Conference Opening Series
Courtesy: Western Illinois Athletics  
Release: Tuesday 03/16/2013
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MACOMB, Ill. - South Dakota used a four-run surge in the top of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie and record the 6-2 final win over the Leathernecks completing the Summit League series sweep on Saturday (Mar. 16).

Following a scoreless first, the Coyotes scored a single run in consecutive innings to stake an early 2-0 lead on five hits and an error.

Western answered in the bottom half of the third when Monica Rondon ripped a triple down the right line to score speedsters Sammy Marshall and Briana Williams, who reached with a hit by pitch and a single, respectively. The hit marked Rondon's first career triple and brings her season RBI total up to a team-most 21.

The pitcher's dual resumed as neither team would score a run in the fourth, fifth or sixth innings. Leatherneck starting pitcher Kelsey Michelini notched a total of five strikeouts in the span, one better than her previous game-high mark of four this season.

In the top of the seventh, South Dakota led off with a single then saw the runner to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch. An infield single combined with a throwing error allowed the Coyotes to score, breaking the tie. A single and a double followed adding three more runs and extending the South Dakota lead 6-2.

Emma Jarrell and Karissa Kouchis picked up back-to-back singles with one away in the bottom of the seventh and moved up to third on a Marshall sacrifice, but a groundout ended the inning handing the Leathernecks their third consecutive loss.

The Leathernecks are now 5-10 overall and 0-3 in Summit League play, while the Coyotes move to 19-10 overall and 3-0 in conference action.

Michelini (1-6) took the loss in the circle for Western, but fanned a 2013 game-high eight strikeouts in her seven innings of work. Erica Denney moves to 10-4 on the season with the win.

Williams was 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the Western lineup, while Rondon notched the team's two RBI going 1-for-3 in the box. Lia Romeo (1-for-3), Jarrell (1-for-3) and Kouchis (1-for-3) each contributed a hit in the contest.

The Leathernecks are back on the diamond on Wednesday (Mar. 20) at Valparaiso. The double header is slated to begin at 2 p.m. CDT.

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