(MSU Billings release)
LAS VEGAS – After a slow offensive performance led to a 4-1 loss to Azusa Pacific (2-1) this morning, Heather Tracy and the Montana State University Billings (3-1) offense responded in a huge way as they defeated Colorado Christian (2-1) 8-5 in the afternoon.
Tracy hit three home runs in the Yellowjackets’ second game of the day and tied her teammate Megan Dettling for the most round-trippers in a single game in program history. The senior hit six home runs last season and a career-best seven as a junior in 2016.
GAME 1 | Azusa Pacific 4, MSU Billings 1
The Yellowjacket bats got off to a slow start on Saturday morning as the MSUB offense was held hitless the first time through the order in a 4-1 loss. Azusa Pacific (2-1) earned an early lead after a sacrifice fly plated the Cougar’s first run in the top of the first inning.
Maddy Lincoln (2-1, 1.80 ERA) was solid in her second start of the tournament. The sophomore made it through five innings while allowing only singles to the Azusa offense. She finished her outing with two strikeouts and three earned runs on eight hits.
Entering the circle for the final six outs of the game, Megan Dettling (0-0, 5.04 ERA) was dealing. She struck out the side in the top of the sixth and recorded two more punch-outs in the seventh while allowing just one hit.
Cameron Cassinelli drove in MSUB’s sole run of the contest when her sixth-inning double brought home Georgiabelle Benning.
The Yellowjackets’ first three baserunners reached after being hit-by-pitches before Amanda Barham cracked a single up the middle in the bottom of the third. Barham’s hit put Vanessa Almario into scoring position giving the ‘Jackets a chance to tie the game. With runners on first and second Dettling singled and Almario rounded third but could not beat the throw from center field being called out on a close play at the plate.
In the fourth and fifth innings, the Cougars used small-ball and aggressive baserunning to create three runs on five hits taking a 4-0 lead with two innings remaining.
Down to their final two chances at the plate, Heather Tracy sparked the MSUB offense in the sixth with a lead-off bunt-single. After a fielder’s choice, Brittanee Fisher walked to put Dettling on second with Cassinelli due up. Benning entered the game for Dettling as a pinch-runner and scored when Cassinelli hit a double into right-center field to make the score 4-1.
Gaby Grabkowski (1-0, 2.10 ERA) earned the win for the Cougar’s pitching 2.2 innings and giving up one hit and one earned run. Cayla Broussard had four hits in four plate appearances, scoring one run and picking up her second stolen base of the season for Azusa.
GAME 2 | MSU Billings 8, Colorado Christian 5
There was plenty of offense in the Yellowjackets’ second game of the day as MSUB plated runs in each of the first four innings. Dettling brought home the first runs of the game in the bottom the first when her single plated Barham and Tracy giving MSUB a 2-0 lead. Colorado Christian responded in the second with a run scored off of a Dettling walk to cut the lead to 2-1.
Barham would score again in the second when Tracy belted the first of her three home runs stretching the lead to 4-1. The Cougars manufactured a run in the top of the third after Kendall Yasui singled and stole two bases before coming home on a single.
Myrissa Prince kept the offense going in the bottom of the third as the senior second baseman homered down the left-field line to give MSUB a three-run 5-2 lead.
Three hits and a Yellowjacket error allowed CCU to add two more runs in the top of the fourth as freshman Abbey Bryan made her collegiate debut in the circle. Maddy Lincoln (3-1, 1.37 ERA) came in to close out the inning for the ‘Jackets and eventually earn her third win of the season.
Tracy answered again as her second homer of the game put the Yellowjackets up 7-4. Barham scored on the shot after reaching base on her second single of the afternoon. The Cougars would scratch across a run in the fifth but Lincoln controlled the action for the rest of the game.
For her final home run of the game, Tracy hit a solo shot to center field in the bottom of the sixth giving MSUB an 8-5 lead that they would keep for the rest of the game.