(MSU Billings release)
ST. GEORGE, Utah – Facing the No. 9 Dixie State Trailblazers (6-0) on Saturday morning the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (7-5) dropped a 14-4 decision in six innings at the Dixie State Easton Classic. The ‘Jackets finish the tournament 2-3 after splitting four games on Thursday and Friday. While Dixie State hosted the tournament, the Yellowjackets played Saturday’s contest as the home team.
Maddy Lincoln (4-3, 2.87 ERA) made the start for the Yellowjackets against Dixie State’s Cambrie Hazel (3-0). Lincoln finished the game with five earned runs in two inning with the Trailblazers adding the rest of their runs in four innings of relief from Megan Dettling. Hazel was relieved in the sixth after finding trouble late in the game and giving up four earned runs.
Saturday’s game concluded a stretch of 12 games in eight days away from Billings starting with the Desert Stinger last Friday. The ‘Jackets scored 28 runs over five games on 47 hits with a .333 team batting average in St. George.
Dixie State earned an early 2-0 lead in the first inning after capitalizing on a walk, single, two batters hit-by-pitch and an MSUB error. Shortstop Kelsee Bushell made a crucial throw to home plate to record a force out on the Trailblazers’ lead runner for the second out to stopping the scoring.
Amanda Barham started the bottom of the frame with a leadoff walk and advanced to third on Dettling’s single down the right-field line. MSUB loaded the bases with a two-out walk by Cameron Cassinelli and scored their first run of the contest on an RBI single from freshman Allie Hughes. Hazel retired the final MSUB batter of the inning on strikes to strand the bases loaded.
Continuing their offensive output, DSU started the second with two singles and a walk to quickly load the bases with no outs. Lincoln delivered her second strikeout of the game to slow the barrage but a two-RBI single followed to extend the lead 4-1. Another walk was followed by a second two-run single for Dixie and the Trailblazers took a commanding 6-1 lead before the top of the second ended.
Bushell singled between a pair of Hazel strikeouts and moved to second on a wild pitch with Heather Tracy at the plate. Tracy drove in the junior shortstop with a deep double to right field trimming the lead to 6-2 heading into the third.
Dettling entered the game to pitch for the Yellowjackets in the third inning. The Trailblazers started the inning with a double on a shallow fly-ball that got lost in the St. George sun giving them the opportunity to score for the third consecutive inning. A wild pitch moved the runner to third and a single moved the lead to 7-2 before Dettling finished the inning with a strikeout.
After a scoreless fourth inning the Trailbalzers added four more runs in the fifth to put the pressure on the Yellowjackets with an 11-2 lead. Dixie recorded four singles in the inning and a two-run home run from Jessica Gonzalez to take a nine run lead.
Needing to score two runs to prolong the game, the top of the ‘Jackets order produced. Tracy singled and scored on a Dettling base hit to cut the lead to eight with one out. Georgiabelle Benning pinch ran for Dettling and moved to second on a Cassinelli walk. With two outs and the game on the line, Hughes came up big with her second RBI-single of the game to keep the ‘Jackets alive.
Dixie added three more runs in the top of the sixth off of a three-run shot from Janessa Bassett making the score 14-4. Bushell got on base when she was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the sixth but the ‘Jackets wouldn’t be able to plate a run to extend the game.
The ‘Jackets will be in Colorado next weekend for a pair of doubleheaders against Metropolitan State University Denver (2-7) and Colorado School of Mines (3-3). MSUB will play Metro State in Denver, Colo. on Saturday with the first game set for 12:00 p.m. Mountain time followed by a 2:00 p.m. start for game two. On Sunday, the ‘Jackets will be in Boulder, Colo. with games scheduled for 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. against Colorado Mines.