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Series split keeps MSU Billings in tournament position

Posted at 8:30 PM, Apr 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:50:27-04

(MSU Billings release)

MONMOUTH, Ore. – For the second day in a row, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets (21-20, 11-9 GNAC) split two games against the Western Oregon University Wolves (24-22, 12-12 GNAC). WOU got the better of the ‘Jackets in Game 1 as they walked-off with a 6-5 win following a three-run rally in the seventh. In Game 2 MSUB powered past the Wolves and held on to a 12-8 victory.

The split keeps the ‘Jackets ahead of the Wolves in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings as they remain in third-place.

In Sunday’s second game, the Yellowjackets hit five home runs for the second time this season. The total ties a team record for the ‘Jackets. Amanda Barham was the first to go deep in the game followed by Cameron Cassinelli just two batters later. Megan Dettling’s home run was a grand slam for MSUB giving the ‘Jackets a 6-0 lead. Shayla Felix and Brittanee Fisher added homers later in the game, it was Felix’s fourth of the season and Fisher’s eighth.

Heather Tracy broke a record in the game as the senior stole two bases bringing her season total to 21. The number surpasses Jessica Frank’s single-season record of 19 from 2008. Tracy went 3-for-9 on the day and scored two runs. She is now hitting .507 this season.

Dettling has a home run in each of the past three games. She is the first ‘Jacket to achieve the feat since Cassinelli did it against Western Oregon last season. Cassinelli hit two home runs in this years’ series against the Wolves. Cassinelli now leads the team with nine home runs this season while Dettling and Fisher each have eight. Cassinelli and Dettling are tied for the team lead with 33 RBIs this season.

Cassinelli had multi-hit games in all four contests against WOU. In Sunday’s second game Cassisnelli recorded her third three-hit game of the season. The senior is hitting .455 with seven home runs in 20 games against conference opponents.

MSU Billings will play two games against the Cocnordia Cavaliers (18-24, 5-15 GNAC) tomorrow in Portland, Ore. While the games will be player on Concordia’s home field, the ‘Jackets will act as the home team batting in the bottom of each inning.

Game 1: Western Oregon University Wolves 6, MSU Billings 5

After Maddy Lincoln allowed just two hits in the first four inning of Game 1, the Western Oregon bats rallied to score six runs on nine hits over the final three innings. The Wolves scored their final three runs in the bottom of the seventh to overcome a two-run deficit and walk-off with the first win of the day.

The Yellowjackets’ first hit of the day also delivered the first run of the game as Cassinelli belted her eight homer of the season. The senior hit the first pitch in the top of the second inning over the right field fence for the 38th home run of her career.

In the top of the fifth, Emily Martinez laced a single to center field. She later reached third after a throw from the pitcher to second base sailed into centerfield. Shayla Felix hit a sacrifice fly to center field that plated Martinez and gave the ‘Jackets a 2-0 lead.

The Wolves had a three-run bottom of the fifth started by a single. After a fielder’s choice, the Wolves had a runner on first with two outs. With back-to-back singles from Tyler Creach and Ryanne Huffman, the Wolves scored their first run of the game. A Cheyanne Rimer double scored two more runs for WOU as they grabbed a 3-2 lead.

In the sixth, the ‘Jackets got started with a single from Tracy. Tracy moved to second on throwing error by the WOU catcher and scored on a Myrissa Prince single. Dettling added two more runs with a two-run shot that gave MSUB a 5-3 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Lincoln was relieved by Haley Couch (3-5, 5.63 ERA) after allowing a leadoff single. Couch retired the first two batters she faced and the ‘Jackets got out of the inning when Prince caught WOU’s baserunner trying to score on an infield single.

MSUB Billings was retired in order in the seventh and the Wolves were in need of two runs with just three out remaining in the game. Ayanna Arceneaux led off the Wolves half of the inning with a solo home run cutting the lead to one. After a walk and a sacrifice bunt, WOU had the tying run in scoring position. Dettling entered to pitch for the ‘Jackets and hit the first batter she faced. On a fielder’s choice, Jenna Kelly plated Creach and tied the game. Dettling recorded the second out of the inning on a foul ball caught by Cassinelli at first base. Chandler Bishop knocked a walk-off single to center field to end the game.

Game 2: MSU Billings 12, Western Oregon University Wolves 8

Amanda Barham started Game 2 with a bang as the MSUB center fielder hit her second home run in as many days in the top of the first inning. Later in the inning Cassinelli hit her second home run of the day to send the ‘Jackets into the bottom of the inning with a 2-0 lead.

After allowing one hit from the circle in the bottom of the first, Dettling provided herself with four runs of support as she hit a grand slam in the top of the second inning. Emma Tucker was first on base as she reached on a throwing error and advanced to second. Following her single, Tracy stole her 20th base of the season leaving first open. Barham worked a walk to load the bases and Dettling plated four runs with a deep drive to left field. Western Oregon made a pitching change after the ‘Jackets bolted out to the 6-0 lead.

The scoring continued in the inning with Cassinelli and Brittanee Fisher each getting a single off of the newly entered Lizzy Dominguez. Kelsee Bushell hit a fly ball straight up that was dropped by the pitcher allowing Cassinelli to score and Fisher to advance to third. Martinez continued the massive inning with a two-run double that gave MSUB a 9-0 lead before the inning ended.

Bowers hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second to give the Wolves their first run of the game making it 9-1. In the third, the Wolves had a big rally buoyed by a three-run shot by Huffman making it 9-4. Lincoln (11-11, 3.37 ERA) entered the game for Dettling and another run scored after an error and a WOU double. Lincoln induced a ground out to end the inning with a 9-5 lead.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the ‘Jackets would pad their lead in the fifth. Barham drew her second walk of the game and scored on Felix’s two-run shot. Fisher added MSUB’s 12th run in the sixth with her eighth home run of the season.

A two out double from Huffman in the bottom of the sixth turned into the sixth run of the game for the Wolves making it 12-6. Allie Hughes made a fantastic sliding catch in foul territory to end the inning and send the game to the seventh.

With a scoreless top of the seventh, the ‘Jackets needed just three outs to end the game but the Wolves continued to battle. After a quick ground out, Bowers reached base on an error. A Kennedy Coy single put runners on first and second. Creach then collected an RBI single making it 12-7 before Huffman added one more run with a single of her own. Lincoln struck out Rimer to end the game and pick up her 11th win of the season.