(MSU Billings release)
LAS VEGAS – Maddy Lincoln pitched a complete game and allowed just two hits to help Montana State University Billings defeat Hawai’i Pacific University 8-0 Sunday afternoon in six innings at Majestic Field. Lincoln faced 20 hitters and struck out four in her first start this season and the ‘Jackets improved in the tournament to 2-1 after both of Saturday’s scheduled games were cancelled due to weather.
“Our team came out ready to go today,” commented head coach Jessica Rayman. “They had a little bit of fire underneath them after Friday night. We weren’t able to get any momentum (Friday) against San Francisco State but to see them come out and keep the momentum the whole game against Hawai’i Pacific was great. Really an all-around good game for us.”
The Yellowjackets (2-1) scored two runs in the bottom of the third inning. Sidney Pollard hit a triple down the right field line and eventually scored on another right field triple hit by Cailee Morgan. Rylan Austin’s ground ball single up middle scored Morgan from third to give MSUB a 2-0 lead.
Both teams went scoreless in the fourth but the Yellowjackets broke out for five runs in the fifth. Emilee Leonard issued back-to-back walks to Allie Hughes and Brittanee Fisher to start the inning. Then with one out, Skyler Jenkins singled to short centerfield, scoring Hughes from second. Jordan Curry came in to pitch for Hawai’I Pacific but hits kept coming for MSUB. Pollard walked and Georgiabelle Benning singled over shortstop to score two and extend the lead to 5-0.
Cailee Morgan singled to advance the runner but a fielding error allowed Pollard and Benning to score on the play. After starting the inning on a walk, Allie Hughes grounded out to shortstop to end the fifth.
Tiana Cantero-Kawelo singled against Lincoln to start the sixth but got caught in a run down between first and second and was tagged out diving back into first. Cieana Curran lined out to left and Sierra Dias popped up to Austin at shortstop to end the inning.
The ‘Jackets scored their eighth run in the bottom of the sixth to end the game. Benning’s single to left allowed Payton Reynolds to score unearned and the ‘Jackets took the game 8-0.
Morgan went 3-for-4 with a triple and one run batted in for MSUB. Pollard finished 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored and Benning had a pair of hits, a run scored, and three RBI’s.
Lincoln (1-0) was the winning pitcher while Leonard (0-1) took the loss for Hawai’i Pacific. Leonard lasted 4.1 innings and allowed seven runs (five earned), seven hits, walked four, and struck out two.
“I had a talk with Maddy about leaving it all on the field this year because she only has two years left,” Rayman Said. “She came out with a presence that we’ve been working on since her freshman year. She did a really good job today hitting her spots and keeping the momentum even when we made mistakes. She was very consistent today and I knew she would come out ready to go.”
MSU Billings finished with eight runs on 11 hits and two errors. The Sharks (1-1) had zero runs on two hits, three errors.
“I thought we did a good job being patient on pitches that were outside and we learned from Friday and made good adjustments and found pitches we could drive,” said Rayman. “To see our freshmen step up in the way that they did was great. They did a phenomenal job and I am excited to see what they are capable of doing the rest of the season.”
SCHEDULE CHANGE: The Yellowjackets have scheduled a double-header for Monday, February 4 against Hawai’i Pacific at Majestic Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first game will start at 11:30 a.m. PT and the second is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
The Yellowjackets (2-1) play their second tournament of the season February 7-9 hosted by Dixie State University. MSUB will face University of Hawai’i at Hilo, Fort Lewis College, Western New Mexico University, Dixie State, and Metropolitan State University of Denver at Canyons Softball Complex in St. George, Utah. The GNAC conference schedule begins on March 2 against Western Washington.
THE BUZZ: Maddy Lincoln was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game for MSUB. Lincoln pitched in relief on Friday but pitched well in her first start against Hawai’i Pacific…MSUB began hosting the Desert Stinger in 2010. Including games this weekend, the Yellowjackets have a ¬21-26 all-time record in the tournament…Western Washington has been the most successful GNAC team in the tournament. The Vikings are 2¬ coming into this year.