College Softball

Carrillo's home run lifts SDSU to championship

By Andrew Holtan

The Brookings Register

Posted 5/10/24

South Dakota State is one step closer to its goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament as the Jackrabbits beat Omaha 2-1 in the Summit League Tournament on Friday afternoon.

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College Softball

Carrillo's home run lifts SDSU to championship


BROOKINGS – South Dakota State is one step closer to its goal of getting to the NCAA Tournament as the Jackrabbits beat Omaha 2-1 in the Summit League Tournament on Friday afternoon.

The No. 1 seeded Jacks (33-20) advanced to the championship game with the win over the No. 2 seeded Mavericks (38-13). A two-run home run from Rozelyn Carrillo proved to be the difference as the two teams combined for nine hits.

“It’s been chalked up the way we wanted it to be chalked up,” said SDSU head coach Krisitna McSweeney. “We wanted to face Omaha another time and get another shot at Kamryn Meyer. For us, this is what we wanted to do.”

It was a matchup between the top two pitchers in the Summit League and they both showed out. SDSU’s Tori Kniesche pitched a complete game and gave up one earned run on five hits with nine strikeouts. Omaha’s Kamryn Meyer, who was named the Summit League Pitcher of the Year and hadn’t given up a run in the past 10 games, gave up two earned runs on four hits in her complete game performance. She had nine strikeouts as well and walked one batter. 

McSweeney said her team went into the matchup against Meyer with an attack mindset. 

“Our mindset was attack, attack and attack. In the good and in the bad and when she beat us and she didn’t beat us, we were just going to keep swinging. I felt like we did that really well today,” McSweeney said.

Neither team scored in the first three innings. Emma Osmundson was then hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Rozelyn Carrillo came to the plate with one out and she hit a fly ball to right field. The ball just carried enough to get over the wall and that put the Jacks up 2-0 heading into the fifth.

“I’m so proud of [Rozelyn],” McSweeney said. “But what makes Roz Roz is that she’s so coachable. Her first at-bat we tried her two strike approach against [Meyer] because her two strike approach worked the last game. She then said ‘coach, I don’t think I’m going to do it’ and I said, ‘OK, let’s go back to what we were doing before.’ It was in that moment that she made a huge adjustment. It’s about trusting your coaching staff and that’s what she’s done really well.”

Ava Rongisch led off the top of the fifth and drilled the ball down the right field line. It just snuck inside the foul pole and that cut the SDSU lead to 2-1. Olivia Aden and Marra Cramer hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second with one out, but Kniesche forced a fly out and a line out to get out of the jam.

McSweeney said it looked like Kniesche had a lot of trust in her teammates on Friday.

“There were a lot of emotions coming into this tournament. The one thing I told her was that we were behind her. I think letting her feel that today and seeing her team behind her was huge,” McSweeney said. 

Lindsey Culver doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and advanced to third on a Rozelyn Carrillo sacrifice bunt. Brooke Dumont then hit a fly ball to shallow center field and Culver decided to tag up. She was thrown out at the plate and the Jacks challenged for catcher’s interference but Culver was still ruled out after the review and SDSU held a 2-1 advantage heading into the final inning.

Rongisch led off the seventh and put a charge into the ball to center field but Jocelyn Carrillo caught the ball on the warning track. Kniesche struck out the next batter and forced the final batter to fly out, giving her her 17th win of the season.

Rozelyn Carrillo was 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Jocelyn Carrillo was 1-for-2 and Mia Jarecki and Culver were each 1-for-3.

SDSU will play Omaha again tomorrow. The Jackrabbits will have to win just one game on Saturday, while the Mavericks will have to beat SDSU twice if they want to win the tournament. The first game is scheduled for 1 p.m. and should Omaha win there would be another game played.

McSweeney said she wants to see her team continue to do what they’ve been doing all season.

“We have to do the same things. We talk about the same things, we work on the same things. We have to continue to stay in the zone and look for something that's going to help us work towards what we want to do. Again, we’ll see Omaha or UMKC and our approach is going to be to continue to do the things that we need to do. Limit our walks, stay in the zone offensively and work together on defense, which we did a good job of today,” McSweeney said.