(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

(PRESS RELEASE FROM MSUB ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT)

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Megn Dettling starred in the first day of the Dixie State Easton Classic on Thursday as she capped off the Yellowjackets’ (6-3) 1-0 win over Chadron State College (2-4) with an 18 strikeout gem setting a new Great Northwest Athletic Conference single-game record. She passed the MSUB record, previously held by Joey Ehnes with 15 strikeouts, in the sixth inning when she recorded her 16th punch-out of the game. With three opportunities to tie the conference mark of 17 set by Lizzy Prescott of Western Oregon in 2006 in the seventh inning, the MSUB senior bookended the inning with strikeouts to claim the most dominating pitching performance in conference history.

Dettling’s previous single game high for strikeouts was nine against Cal State San Bernardino last season. It is only the 31st time in Division II softball history that a pitcher has struck out 18 batters. With the top single-game total, Dettling is also just the fifth GNAC pitcher to retire 15 or more batters via strikes in the conference’s history. Twelve batters struck out swinging in the contest while six watched the third and final strike of the at-bat. Dettling recorded all three outs via strikeout in four of seven innings. Shayla Felix caught the game for the ‘Jackets and recorded a MSUB record 19 putouts behind the plate.

The win over Chadron was the second of two games during the opening day of the Dixie State Easton Classic in St. George after MSUB took a tough 5-4 loss at the hands of Colorado State University Pueblo (1-0) earlier in the morning. Dettling had a two run double in the first game to account for half of the MSUB offense and Amanda Barham went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate.

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The Yellowjackets will play two more games in the Dixie State Easton Classic tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. when they face University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (2-3). The Mountain Lions dropped a pair of games on Thursday with a 10-1 loss to Cal Baptist and a 9-1 loss to Northwest Nazarene.

At 12:30 p.m. on Friday the ‘Jackets will play Metropolitan State University Denver (2-5). The Roadrunners started the Dixie State Classic with a win over a familiar opponent as they beat Western New Mexico 5-2. Metro State beat WNMU 6-1 last week in Albuquerque, N.M. In their second game of the day, the Roadrunners faced host No. 9 Dixie State in a 13-5 loss.

Game 1 – CSU Pueblo 5, MSU Billings 4

Maddy Lincoln go the start in the circle but did not record a decision in the first game of the day for the Yellowjackets. She quickly saw her 10.2 inning scoreless streak end as the Pueblo offense scored two runs in the first inning.  CSUP delivered a single followed by a walk and a couple of softly hit singles to plate the first two runs of the ballgame before Lincoln found her groove.

After failing to score a run with the bases in the first inning, the ‘Jackets’ offense jumped on Pueblo pitching in the second. Kelsee Bushell got things going with a leadoff single and advanced to second on a Jessica Bagnell sacrifice bunt. Starting the second time through the order, Amanda Barham collected her second hit of the day with an infield single putting runners on the corners. Heather Tracy delivered the first RBI for the Yellowjackets with a single through the middle of the infield scoring Bushell and setting the table for number-three-hitter Megan Dettling. Detting drove her first double of the season to right-center field scoring Barham and Tracy to give MSUB a 3-2 run. The scoring continued when a Cameron Cassinelli grounder slipped past CSUP’s second baseman allowing Dettling to score on the error.

Lincoln settled in to allow just one hit and one walk over her next four innings of work before being replaced by freshman Haley Couch (1-2, 3.36 ERA) in the sixth inning. The sophomore left-hander struck out one batter while inducing eight groundouts in the game.

Couch came in strong as she fanned the first batter she faced in her first relief appearance. Then, CSU Pueblo’s pinch hitter Marissa Piatt drew a walk putting the tying runner on base and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Senior Alyssa Ubrun delivered the game-deciding two-run home run during the next at bat saddling Couch with the loss. The freshman responded well in the circle as she retired the next two batters on groundouts.

The Yellowjacket offense record just two hits after the first two innings of play. Both hits came off of the bat of Barham who finished the game 4-for-4 with four singles and one run scored. Tracy picked up a pair of hits in the first two innings brining her career total to 205.

Hannah Anderson (1-0, 3.00 ERA) went the distance for the Thuderwolves as she picked up the win after seven innings of work. Anderson had three strikeouts and three walks while allowing eight hits a three earned runs.

Game 2 – MSU Billings 1, Chadron State College 0

Looking to avoid their first winless day of the season, MSU Billings gave the ball to Megan Dettling (2-0, 3.16 ERA) and watched a dazzling display. Dettling got things rolling early with two swinging strikeouts to start the game. However, Chadron’s Kayla Michel quickly recorded the first hit of the game with a single to right field in the top of the first. Dettling continued to power through as she faced the minimum six batters while collecting five strikeouts through the second and third inning.

Amanda Barham drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first but the Eagles’ Jessica Jarecki (1-3, 2.42 ERA) was spinning a gem of her own in the circle for Chadron. Barham was called out for leaving first early and Jarecki closed the inning with a strikeout and a pop out.

Cassinelli walked in the second but again Jarecki worked through the inning without allowing a scoring threat.

After starting the fourth inning with her ninth strikeout of the game, Dettling walked back-to-back batter. With Chadron mounting the first significant scoring threat of the game, the MSUB right-hander slammed the door with two more strikeouts to get out of the jam.

Tracy recorded the ‘Jackets first hit of the game in the bottom of the inning with a one-out infield single to the shortstop. A high hopping chopper allowed the speedy Tracy just enough time to beat the throw to the bag, extending her nine-game hitting streak. After stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error by the Chadron catcher, Tracy was in prime scoring position. Designated hitter Brittanee Fisher delivered the only run of the game on a slow roller into right field splitting the first and second basemen.

Chadron recorded their second and final hit of the game with a leadoff single in the top of the fifth inning. An error would put runners on first and second for the Eagle but Dettling continued dealing, recording three straight strikeouts with runners in scoring position to take the game to the bottom of the fifth.

Dettling finished the game retiring six consecutive batters and retired two or more batters on strike in all seven innings. Barham delivered a single up the middle in the sixth inning and I now on a four-game hitting streak. By recording the only run of the game, Tracy continues her six-game runs streak and she picked up her team-best sixth stolen base in the game.

Dettling has 39 strikeouts in 24.1 innings pitched with just 11 earned runs. The game against Chadron is the first game of the season in which Lincoln has not pitched this season.

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