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MSU Billings nearly knocks off No. 17 Dixie State, falls in extras

Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-08 20:16:02-05

(MSUB Athletics release)

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The Yellowjackets pushed No. 17 Dixie State to the final out of the eighth inning but ended up falling short in a pair of games Friday in the Courtyard Classic Tournament at Canyons Softball Complex. The Yellowjackets lost to Western New Mexico University 6-4 after a late comeback try fell short. Then the team was defeated by No. 17 Dixie State University 2-1 in eight innings after a diving catch in left field by Malory Godfrey saved the tying run from scoring.

“We came out a little slow this morning in game one and got our offense going just little too late,” said head coach Jessica Rayman.”It was good to see the bounce back in game two though. The team played well against Dixie State and although the end result did not go our way, the team fought hard all game.”

Game 1 – MSU Billings 4, Western New Mexico 6

Early inning mistakes cost Montana State University Billings as they fell 6-4 to Western New Mexico University in the third game of the Courtyard Classic Tournament at Canyons Softball Complex Friday morning.

The Mustangs scored three runs in the first inning and two in the second and the ‘Jackets were unable to make up the five run difference, despite loading the bases in the seventh inning and getting the tying run to second base.

Payton Reynolds went 1-for-3 with a solo home run for MSUB and Rylan Austin had a pair of hits and a walk. Ariana Maldonado led the Mustangs with two runs batted in and two hits in four plate appearances. The Yellowjackets ended with four runs on nine hits with two errors while WNMU had six runs on seven hits with one error.

Jayln McClain (1-3) pitched a complete game and allowed four earned runs on nine hits, walked three, and struck out two to earn her first win. Alyssa Etheridge (2-1) took the loss allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits, walked four, and struck out five.

The ‘Jackets struggled to gain traction early and Western New Mexico used three walks and an RBI single by Yasmeen Gastelum to score three runs in the bottom of the first inning.

WNMU scored two more in the second. After getting the leadoff runner aboard on an error at third base, both Marina Garcia and Maldonado singled. Garcia then scored on a well-executed double steal, pushing the lead to 5-0.

Madison Kelly hit a leadoff double to start the top of the third. After advancing on a wild pitch, Kelly scored on a sacrifice fly to left center by Georgiabelle Benning, cutting the deficit to 5-1.

After a scoreless fourth and fifth inning, Allie Hughes hit a soft single into centerfield to score a run for MSUB. Hailey Gregerson followed with a fly ball just past Habitreuther at second base and picked up an RBI to make it 6-3. Payton Reynolds hit her second home run of the season in the seventh to bring the ‘Jackets within two. Cailee Morgan (single) and Rylan Austin (walk) reached base with one out.

Then Grisdey Paredes-Alva made a diving backhand catch at third base by in foul territory for the second out. Both MSUB runners advanced on a wild pitch as Brittanee Fisher hit with a 2-0 count. Fisher was then intentionally walked to load the bases for Allie Hughes. Hughes drew a 1-2 count and swung and missed on a low inside pitch to end the game.

Game 2 – MSU Billings -1, No. 17 Dixie State 2 (8 INN)

In the pitching duel of the season so far, Dixie State pushed a run across in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Montana State Billings 2-1 in the fourth game of the Courtyard Classic hosted by DSU. Cambrie Hazel narrowly outpitched Maddy Lincoln to get the win for the Trailblazers, pitching 8.0 innings and allowing one earned run on two hits, walking one, and striking out 11. Lincoln was also dominant in 8.0 innings of work, surrendering just 2 runs (one earned) on four hits, walking two and striking out three.

“Maddy threw a great game for us,” commented Rayman. “She was getting ahead in counts and moving the ball around well. Our defense played really well behind Maddy as well. It was great to see the team come out and compete hard in game two.”

The Yellowjackets (5-4) nearly converted what would have been their first upset over a Top 25 ranked team since February 10, 2016 but a diving catch by Malory Godfrey for the final out in the eighth inning stranded Morgan at third base to end the game.

MSU Billings finished with one run on two hits and zero errors while Dixie State had two runs on four hits and zero errors.

Morgan and Pollard were hit by pitches in the first inning and Fisher reached on a fielders choice. Allie Hughes singled up the middle to score Pollard, giving the Yellowjackets a 1-0 lead.

Lincoln kept Dixie State off the scoreboard until Kori Gahn took a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run, deadlocking the game at 1-1. The teams remained tied until the eighth inning. Hazel struck out six straight MSUB hitters during the scoreless drought and Maddy Lincoln retired 12 in a row for the ‘Jackets.

To start the eighth, Dixie State sacrificed to advance the placed runner to third base. Kasey Crawford followed with an RBI single between shortstop and third base, just out of the reach of both MSUB infielders who were playing closer to usual to home plate. Lincoln pitched out of the remainder of the eighth to give the ‘Jackets a chance to respond in the bottom half of the inning.

With a runner on second, Austin layed down a successful sacrifice bunt and Pollard was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners. Fisher eventually struck out swinging for the second out, bringing up Hughes. Hughes drove a 1-1 pitch to left field and Malory Godfrey dove into the corner to make the catch and end the game.

Hazel hit five batters in her eight innings of work, including Pollard in the eighth inning. The Yellowjackets put one runner on base in the seventh but a flyout to left field ended the threat.

Skylar Jenkins and Allie Hughes had hits for the Yellowjackets with Hughes picking up the only run batted in. Dani Bartholf, Crawford, Eldredge, and Gahn had one hit apiece for DSU.

The Yellowjackets (5-3) play Metropolitan State in the Courtyard Classic before heading to Denver next week for four games against Metro State and Colorado School of Mines.

Maddy Lincoln was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the day for MSU Billings.