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Sunday shutout spurs best start in MSU Billings history

Posted at 9:05 PM, Feb 04, 2018

(MSU Billings release)

LAS VEGAS – Starting freshman Haley Couch (1-0, 0.00 ERA) in the circle, the Montana State University Yellowjackets (4-1) paired excellent pitching with their potent offense to defeat the Cal State, Dominguez Hills Toros (2-3) 8-0 during their final game at the Desert Stinger.

The 4-1 start is the best start in MSUB Softball history besting the previous mark of 3-2 from the 2012 Desert Stinger.

Couch received early run support as Heather Tracy scored on a sacrifice fly from Cameron Cassinelli. One run would be all the Yellowjackets would need but the offense continued to pound the Toros’ pitching. Couch finished her day scattering four hits across five innings and recording one strikeout and one walk. Maddy Lincoln (3-1, 1.29 ERA) closed the game retiring the first three batters in the sixth inning and recording a strikeout.

Tracy scored the second run of the game off of Megan Dettling’s second of four hits on the day to take a 2-0 lead. The scoring continued as the very next batter, Cassinelli, hit her first home run of the season to right-center field making it 4-0 in the bottom of the third.

In the fifth, Dettling again plated Tracy with a single after the MSUB right fielder moved into scoring position with her second stolen base of the game. Dettling would later score on a Dominguez Hills error to make it 6-0 heading into the sixth.

A pair of singles from Jessica Bagnell and Georgiabelle Benning led off the bottom of the sixth giving the Yellowjackets an opportunity to end the game an inning early. Amanda Barham drove home Bagnell and a fly ball from Tracy advanced Benning to third setting up Dettling’s third RBI-single of the game to end the game 8-0.

The Yellowjackets scored their eight runs on 11 total hits while recording their first errorless game of the season in the field. Dettling and Cassinelli each drove in three runs in the game to lead the offense. Freshman Emily Martinez played in her first game for MSUB and drew a walk in the fourth inning.

STINGER STATS: Dettling hit a team-best .556 while going 10-for-18 leading the ‘Jackets with eight RBI and smacking a walk-off home run in MSUB’s 8-6 win over the Academy of Art. Tracy hit .550 and leads the team with three home runs after her MSUB-record tying game against Colorado Christian on Saturday. The senior scored 11 runs in five games while collecting 20 total bases.

MSUB was a perfect 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts led by Tracy with three while Barham and Dettling each recorded one swipe each. Benning was 2-for-2 at the Stinger and scored four runs. As a team the Yellowjackets hit .348 and outscored opponents 39-15.

Yellowjacket pitchers combined for a 2.76 ERA on the weekend led by Lincoln who won three games while giving up three earned runs over 16.1 innings. Dettling had one start and three appearances totaling 14 strikeouts over 11.1 innings and having a 4.94 ERA.

The Yellowjackets will continue play in Las Vegas on Tuesday when they play a neutral-site doubleheader against the University of Hawaii Hilo at Majestic Park. The games are scheduled for 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Pacific time. The ‘Jackets are 11-14 all-time against the Vulcans with a 5-4 advantage in neutral contests. The teams last played in 2016 when they split a pair of games in St. George, Utah.