(MSU Billings release)
MONMOUTH, Ore. – Starting a pivotal four-game series on Saturday, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (20-19, 10-8 GNAC) split a doubleheader against the Western Oregon Wolves (23-21, 11-11 GNAC). After holding a late lead in Game 1, the Yellowjackets allowed three late runs to lose the opener 5-2 in Monmouth. In Game 2 the ‘Jackets flipped the script to complete a 5-2 win of their own.
Megan Dettling had RBIs in both games and was the winning pitcher in Game 2. The senior struck out seven batters in her seventh win of the season and helped her cause with a solo home run in the seventh inning.
Amanda Barham also recorded a home run in the Game 2 victory. It is Barham’s first career home run and it came on her 299th career at-bat. The senior is 4-for-8 in three games this weekend with a home run, triple, double, single and two RBIs.
Heather Tracy picked up hits in both games and finished the day with a .518 batting average. She scored runs in each game and became the third player in Yellowjacket history to record two 40-run seasons in a career. She has scored 41 runs this season, just two short of her career high of 43 last season. The senior is 10 runs short of Bella Rovens’ single-season record of 51 runs scored and 16 runs back (141) of Rovens’ career mark of 157.
Junior Kelsee Bushell had a pair of 2-for-3 performances on Saturday. The shortstop doubled in each game and drove in the first run of the Game 2 win.
Adding another RBI to her MSUB career-leading total, Cameron Cassinelli drove in the 152nd RBI of her career in Game 1. Cassinelli is the eighth player in Great Northwest Athletic Conference history to record 150 career RBIs.
Game 1: Western Oregon University Wolves 5, MSU Billings 2
The Yellowjackets got on the board in the first inning against the Wolves in Saturday’s first game. Myrissa Price was hit by a pitch and advanced to third following a double from Megan Dettling. Cameron Cassinelli brought Prince home with a sharply hit single to left field to open the scoring.
Western Oregon advanced two runners into scoring position in the bottom of the inning but Maddi Lincoln (10-11, 3.40 ERA) avoided any harm. With two outs, Jenna Kelly pulled a ground ball to third base where Emily Martinez made a great throw to first base to end the inning.
In the third inning, the Wolves tied the game after Tyler Creach stole second and scored on a throw down from the catcher that escaped into center field. Western Oregon took the lead in the fourth after a hit-by-pitch and a wild pitch put a runner in scoring position. A Cheyanne Rimer double made it 2-1 WOU.
Heather Tracy answered for the Yellowjackets with her third triple of the season. The following at-bat, Tracy scored on a shallow fly ball to left field as she made an excellent slide to avoid the catcher’s tag at home plate.
The Yellowjackets missed a crucial scoring opportunity in the sixth when they had runners on second and third with no outs. Allie Hughes drew a walk and Kelsee Bushell ripped a double to lead off the inning but the ‘Jackets recorded three straight outs to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Wolves rallied to score three runs. Following a leadoff single, Lincoln retired the next two batters but miscues led to a Wolves rally. The Wolves’ base runner advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third on the second out of the inning. A bunt single scored the runner from third with two outs. An error left the bases loaded and a single brought in two more runs to seal the game.
Only two of the five runs scored against Lincoln were earned as the sophomore finished her fourth consecutive complete game. The left-hander had two strikeouts and allowed just one walk in the game.
Dettling, Cassinelli and Bushell each had two hits in the game with Tracy being the only other ‘Jacket with a hit. Lizzet Dominguez (12-4) went the distance in the game for the Wolves striking out two batters and allowing two walks over seven innings.
Game 2: MSU Billings 5, Western Oregon University Wolves 2
The Yellowjackets were also the first to score in Game 2 with Bushell knocking an RBI double following singles from Cassinelli and Brittanee Fisher in the second inning. Trailing 1-0, the Wolves responded with a solo home run in the bottom of the second from Rimer.
Megan Dettling (7-4, 4.30 ERA) settled in after the long ball allowing just one extra-base hit and five singles the rest of the way. Her line was identical to her last outing as she finished with seven strike outs, two earned runs, two walks and six hits allowed. Dettling has won her last four starts, going the distance in each of them.
Tied 1-1 in the top of the third, Dettling capitalized on an RBI opportunity with a single that scored Tracy. Tracy got on with a one-out single and advanced to third on a double from Prince. Taking the 2-1 lead, the ‘Jackets would lead for the rest of the game.
Barham hit her solo home run in the fifth inning to give MSUB a 3-1 lead. The Wolves plated their final run of the game in the sixth inning after Rimer led off the inning with a double. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to left field. Dettling struck out two batters in the inning to silence the rally.
In the seventh, the MSUB offense added two insurance runs. Barham scored after leading off the inning with a double and came home on a Tracy single. Tracy was called out at second base as she tried to extend her single into a double. Dettling hit her sixth home run of the season to center field to claim the lead 5-2. Cassinelli singled in the inning but was also caught trying to stretch it into a double to end the inning.
Dettling retired the bottom of the seventh in order to seal the win. With 12 hits in the game, the ‘Jackets recorded their 12th game with more than 10 hits this season. MSUB is 10-2 in those games.
NEXT: With the win, the Yellowjackets remain in third place in the GNAC standings. With the Wolves currently sitting in fifth, games three and four will prove crucial to each teams’ tournament hopes. Tomorrow’s doubleheader will follow the same schedule with Game 3 slated for a 12 p.m. Pacific Time start.