GREELEY, Colo. – South Dakota State opened the National Invitational Softball Championship in dominant fashion Wednesday, rolling over Colorado State in five innings, 11-1.
The Jackrabbits improved to 35-16 on the season in their second-ever postseason victory and gave head coach Krista Wood earn her 100th win at SDSU.
Madison Hope (22-8) threw all five innings in the win, taking a shutout into the fifth with a four-hit affair.
Abbey Murphy was 3-for-3 with a double and a walk at the plate, adding an RBI. Ali Herdliska (two RBIs) and Brittney Morse (three RBIs) each had two hits for South Dakota State, both hitting doubles while Herdliska worked a pair of walks.
Lyndsey Crist, Dana Chavez and Baily Janssen all drove in runs as well.
SDSU started fast, opening up a 5-0 lead in the first behind four hits and a CSU error. Murphy opened the game with an infield single, taking second on an overthrow before a fly out allowed her to tag up to third. Herdliska followed with a walk before Morse cleared the bases with a one-out double to left-center.
Crist drew a walk in the next at-bat and Chavez drilled the first pitch she saw into center for a two-run double of her own. After Chavez moved to third when Rushing flied to left, Janssen poked a single through the left side to bring SDSU’s fifth run of the inning home.
That score held until the fourth, when the Jacks tacked on three more runs to go up 8-0.
Ponce and Murphy started with frame with back-to-back singles, and with one gone Herdliska brought both runners home when her double hit the fence in the right-center gap. Herdliska moved up to third on an overthrow during the play, and Morse drove her in with her second hit of the afternoon, dropping a single into left.
Already in run-rule territory, SDSU added insurance in the top of the fifth with another three-run inning.
The fifth began with consecutive pinch-hit singles from Paige Gerdes and Erin Mullen and Murphy followed with a double off the fence in left for a pair of RBIs. Andersen then worked a free pass to load the bases and Herdliska turned an 0-2 count to an RBI-walk for the Jackrabbits’ 10th run of the day. Later in the inning, Crist hit into a one-out fielder’s choice, but earned the RBI as Murphy raced home from third.
Facing the music, Colorado State broke up the shutout with a pair of two-out, extra-base hits, but would come no closer as the Jacks induced a ground ball to end it for their first postseason win since 1996.
The Jackrabbits have scored five or more runs in an inning 19 times this season. ... SDSU racked up double-digit hits for the 22nd time in 2018. ... Madison Hope is tied with Melissa Peter (1996) for the school’s single-season record for wins (22). ... South Dakota State is 1-2 all-time against Colorado State.
South Dakota State takes on Loyola Marymount on Thursday at 4 p.m. CT in a championship semifinal.
Photo from www.gojacks.com.