(MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Playing two home games on their opponents home turf, the Montana State University billings Yellowjackets (21-22, 11-11 GNAC) lost two games to the Concordia Cavaliers (20-24, 7-15 GNAC) on Monday in Portland, Ore. The games were scheduled after a four-game set in Billings was canceled on April 7-8 due to snow.
Concordia earned 4-2 and 10-6 wins on Monday and delivered a blow to the Yellowjackets’ Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tounament hopes as MSUB fell from third to sixth-place in the league standings.
Just four games remain in the regular season as the Yellowjackets will host the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks for a pair of doubleheaders this Friday and Saturday at Avitus Group Stadium. Games start at 1 p.m. on Friday and 12 p.m. on Saturday. All four games will be streamed via the MSUB Stretch Internet Portal.
Heather Tracy had a tough start at the plate as the ‘Jackets’ leading hitter went 0-for-4 in Game 1 before bouncing back with a 4-for-4 performance in Game 2. She scored three runs on the day and collected an RBI. Tracy now has 79 hits this season, just three shy of the MSUB single-season record which she set last year with 82 hits. She will carry a .506 batting average into the final week of the season.
Game 1: Concordia University Cavaliers 4, MSU Billings 2
It was a tough start for both teams in Monday’s first game. After Maddy Lincoln (11-12, 3.31 ERA) retired the first two batters of the game, she issued a two-out walk. The starter induced a fielder’s choice to end the inning and bring the ‘Jacket to the plate in the bottom of the first.
Tracy put the first pitch in play and capitalized on a Cavaliers’ error advancing to third on what should have been a ground out. She later scored on a Barham ground out as she curled around the catcher’s tag at home plate scoring the first run of the game.
Concordia got their first two batters on base to start the second inning following a single and an MSUB error. With a sacrifice bunt, the Cavaliers put two runners in scoring position with one out. A wild pitch brought home the first run for CU. Lincoln walked Adrianna Rupright and the Cavalier’s third baseman stole second opening the door for a steal of home by Jordan Smith-Imes on the throw to second. One last single scored Rupright and gave the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead.
The ‘Jackets were set down in order in the bottom of the second and Lincoln returned the favor in the top of the third. Following Shayla Felix’s leadoff single in the bottom of the third, the MSUB offense stalled. A strikeout and a fielder’s choice left Tracy on first with two outs. Barham struck a single and Tracy advanced to third on a throwing error before a Fisher walk loaded the bases. A fly out ended the Yellowjacket threat.
After another flawless inning from Lincoln, the ‘Jackets loaded the bases with two outs for the second consecutive inning. A Kelsee Bushell one-out single paired with an error and a fielder’s choice put MSUB in an eerily similar situation. Instead of a walk, Allie Hughes was hit by a pitch to fill the bases with Yellowjackets. Yet again, it was a fly out that ended the MSUB rally and kept the Cavaliers in front.
Lincoln was rolling retiring nine batters in order through the third to fifth inning. Over that span, she struck out five batters, three swinging and two looking.
Bushell hit a soaring double in the bottom of the sixth and scored on an Emily Martinez single to narrow the gap 3-2. A double play ended the inning for the ‘Jackets.
In the top of the seventh, the Cavaliers added one more insurance run after leading off the frame with a double and a single. While attempting their second double-steal of the game, the Cavs’ were caught at the plate when Myrissa Prince snapped a throw to Felix who applied the tag. Concordia scored their fourth run of the game on a single up the middle giving them a 4-2 lead.
MSU Billings was retired in order to end the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Game 2: Concordia Cavs 10, MSU Billings 6
In Game 2, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 4-0 lead on starter Brittanee Fisher (0-1, 14.70 ERA) in the top of the first. It was Fisher’s first collegiate start. The game started with an MSUB error on a sharply hit ball to the shortstop. Two singles then loaded the bases for Concordia with no outs. After a fielder’s choice kept the first run of the game from scoring, the Cavs’ capitalized with a two-run single. Following another ground out, Concordia piled on two more runs with another two-run single to take the 4-0 lead.
Fisher settled in allowing just three hits over the next two inning while avoiding any runs. The MSUB offense responded with a big surge in the bottom of the third starting with a pair of walks by Martinez and Hughes.
With Barham reaching first to load the bases, Tracy came through with her second single of the game to bring home Martinez. Prince drew the third walk of the inning for the ‘Jackets to plate the second run of the rally. Cameron Cassinelli delivered a two-run single to tie the game 4-4 with just one out. After the ‘Jackets loaded the bases again on an error, MSUB scored their fifth run of the inning on a dropped fly ball. The inning would end on the play however as Cassinelli was tagged out while trying to score.
The top of the fourth started with two walks for the Cavalier offense before a fielder’s choice had runners on first and second with one out. A third walk loaded the bases and put an end to Fishers pitching debut. The freshman left the game after 3.1 innings allowing seven hits and striking out one batter. Lincoln entered the game for the ‘Jackets but the CU offense continued to roll. A sharply hit single to the left field fence gave the Cavs’ a 6-5 lead. Another two-run single made it 8-5 before Lincoln ended the rally.
The ‘Jackets plated another run in the bottom of the fourth after Tracy scored off of an error following a single from Prince. Tracy had reached base with her third single of the game.
After a scoreless fifth inning, the Cavaliers add two more runs in the top of the sixth inning. A defensive error allowed Concordia’s leadoff hitter to reach second and a single put runners on the corners. Following a stolen base, CU scored two runs on a sacrifice fly to left field. On the fly ball, the throw home was off line and bounced off the backstop allowing the second run to score. The 10-6 lead would hold through the end of the game giving the Cavaliers a two-game sweep.