SDSU stays alive at league tourney

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FARGO, N.D. – South Dakota State held off Purdue Fort Wayne for a 7-6 victory Thursday night at Tharaldson Park at the Ellig Sports Complex to stay alive in the Summit League Softball Championship.

No. 1 North Dakota State beat SDSU 6-3 and No. 2 South Dakota dropped PFW 5-1 earlier to advance to the semifinals.

The Bison (39-13) and Coyotes (32-24) play today at 1 p.m.

The fourth-seeded Jackrabbits (36-16) play the loser of that contest in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m.

The sixth-seeded Mastodons concluded the season with a 10-39 record.

Notes: SDSU is now 5-11 in seven tournament appearances – 0-2 in 2010 and 2014, 1-2 in 2015, 0-1 in 2016 and 2017, 2-2 in 2018 and 2-1 in 2019.

 SDSU 7, PFW 6

The Jackrabbits put up six runs in the first inning – highlighted by Mallory McQuistan’s grand slam – and held off the Mastodons late.

Peyton Daugherty and Julia Andersen singled to open the game, and Ali Herdliska walked to load the bases.

Megan Rushing and Lyndsey Crist also drew walks, forcing in Daugherty and Andersen to make it 2-0.

McQuistan came up next and belted a 3-1 pitch over the fence in right-center field to push the margin to 6-0 and chase PFW starter Lauren McConnell.

Kendra Conard (17-4) earned the win after pitching 4 2/3 innings total, as she started and finished the game. Conard allowed one run – Brooke Imel’s RBI single in the third – on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk over the first four innings.

Taylor Compton surrendered five runs – just one earned – on five hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.

The Mastodons took advantage of two Jackrabbit errors to get back in the game.

PFW pulled within 6-3 in the fifth. Rushing’s RBI single put SDSU on top 7-3 in the seventh.

In the bottom of the inning, Imel and Morganne Denny singled. Pinch-hitter Camryn Mosher drew a walk with one away to load the bases.

Morgan DeMarais took over on the mound for SDSU.

Rachel Everson reached on a throwing error, which allowed Imel and Denny to score to pull the Mastodons within 7-5.

Sydney Windlan followed with an RBI double to cut the deficit to 7-6.

Conard re-entered.

Lexi Smalarz’s bunt single reloaded the bases.

Lauren Watson hit a groundball to third and SDSU’s Megan Rushing threw home to force out Everson.

Lacey Wilzbacher followed with a grounder to short. Yanney Ponce fielded the ball and fired to first, where Herdliska stretched to make the play, narrowly beating Wilzbacher to end the game.

Andersen and Ponce both finished with two hits for SDSU.

For PFW, Watson, Imel, Windlan and Smalarz each collected a pair of hits.

McConnell took the loss after allowing six runs on three hits and three walks without registering an out. Alyssa Malicki kept the Mastodons in it with six scoreless innings of three-hit ball, striking out one and walking one.


SDSU 600 000 1    7    7  2

PFW  001 020 3    6  10  0

Kendra Conard, Taylor Compton (5), Morgan DeMarais (7), Conard (7) and Mallory McQuistan; Lauren McConnell, Alyssa Malicki (1), Shaina Eyre (7) and Abby Baez. W – Conard (17-4). L – McConnell (5-10). 2B: PFW, Sydney Windlan. HR: SDSU, McQuistan.


The Bison built a 4-0 lead after an inning and then held off the Jackrabbits.

KK Leddy (22-7) picked up the win in the circle, allowing three runs on three hits with eight strikeouts in a complete-game showing.

Katie Shoultz drew a base on balls to open the bottom of the first and stole second. Montana DeCamp followed with an RBI single.

Maddie Hansen singled with one away. Cara Beatty then hit a three-run homer to left-center field.

Shoultz added a two-out RBI double in the fourth to push the margin to 5-0.

SDSU got on the board in the fifth when Mallory McQuistan hit a solo home run to right-center with two away.

The Bison’s Vanessa Anderson answered with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth.

Julia Andersen led off the seventh with a triple and Ali Herdliska followed with a home run to center to cut the deficit to 6-3.

Leddy got a strikeout, a goundout and a flyout after that to finish off the game.

Kendra Conard (16-4) surrendered five runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and a pair of walks in four innings in the loss. Taylor Compton gave up one hit – Anderson’s solo homer – and struck out one batter over the final two frames.

Hansen (double) and Zoe Stavrou both went 2-for-3 for NDSU.

Notes: Herdliska pushed her career home run total to 46 – two off the Summit League record of 48 held by Western Illinois’ Bridget Maxwell (1997, 1999-2001). She has 14 this season.


SDSU 000 010 2    3  3  0

NDSU 400 110 x    6  8  0

Kendra Conard, Taylor Compton (5) and Mallory McQuistan; KK Leddy and Maddie Hansen. W – Leddy (22-7). L – Conard (16-4). 2B: NDSU, Katie Shoultz, Hansen. 3B: SDSU, Julia Andersen. HR: SDSU, Ali Herdliska, McQuistan; NDSU, Vanessa Anderson, Cara Beatty.

 USD 5, PFW 1

Dustie Durham (14-8) tossed a complete game, allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts and a pair of walks, and Alyssa Fernandez went 3-for-3 with a home run to lead the Coyotes past the Mastodons.

Jessica Rogers, who also homered, and Lauren Eamiguel added two hits apiece.

USD scored single runs in each of the first three innings before adding two in the fifth to move ahead 5-0.

PFW’s Abby Baez homered in the seventh. Lauren Watson went 3-for-4.

Shaina Eyre took the pitching loss after surrendering five runs – three earned – on 10 hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 4 2/3 innings.


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