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MSU Billings softball drops 3 of 4 road games

Posted at 3:23 PM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 19:12:36-04

(MSUB Athletics release)

TURLOCK, Calif. – After struggling to capitalize on offensive opportunities, the Montana State University Billings softball team dropped a pair of games in the Tournament of Champions on Friday at Pedretti Sports Complex. In game one, MSUB fell 3-1 to Humboldt State, followed by a 9-4 loss to California State University San Marcos. The ‘Jackets are now 1-3 in games played this week with three additional contests in the Tournament of Champions still to play.

Rylan Austin had three hits in game two and made her first pitching appearance of the season but MSUB had difficulty stringing together solid innings both defensively and offensively.

“Rylan started off well pitching for us in game one and Maddy did a good job closing it out,” commented head coach Jessica Rayman. “We just didn’t produce at the plate in game one. I felt our approach was better in game two and we produced some runs but we still need to put everything together and play a complete game as a team. Tomorrow is a new day and we’ll need to show up ready to go.”

Game 1 – MSU Billings 1, Humboldt State 3

Managing just three hits in the opening game of the Tournament of Champions Friday morning, the Montana State University Billings softball team lost 3-1 to Humboldt State University at Pedretti Sports Complex in Turlock, California in a non-conference game.

The Lumberjackets strung together two singles and a double to put two runs across in the top of the fifth inning. The pair of runs proved to be the difference, breaking up a 1-1 tie. JoAna Mullins, Haley Suter, and Micaela Harris recorded multi-hit games for Humboldt State.

Lexi Sheiring (3-6) pitched a complete game to get the win for the Lumberjacks. Sheiring allowed one earned run on three hits, walked four, and struck out four. Rylan Austin (0-1) took the loss for MSUB, hurling 5.0 innings and giving up three earned runs on 11 hits, walked zero, and struck out four. It was Austin’s first pitching appearance of 2019.

Humboldt State (9-19, 4-18 CCAA) is trying to recover from a below average start. The Lumberjackets have been a perennial playoff team in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and reached the NCAA Division II National Championships in 2016.

Game 2 – MSU Billings 4, Cal State San Marcos 9

Rylan Austin went 3-for-4 but the Yellowjackets struggled to find additional hits in a 9-4 loss to California State University San Marcos in game two of the Tournament of Champions. The Coyotes scored four runs in the second inning and added three in the fifth to put a stranglehold on the scoreboard throughout the game. Ronni Silas led CSUSM with two hits, one run batted in, one run scored, and one stolen base.

Caitlin Vinyard (4-5, 3.62 ERA) pitched 7.0 innings and allowed four earned runs and seven hits, walked three, and struck out four to earn the win. Alyssa Etheridge (4-5, 4.07 ERA) lasted 4.0 innings to take the loss. The freshman allowed three earned runs on six hits, walked five, and struck out five for MSUB.

MSU Billings never led in the game. After a scoreless first, Cal State San Marcos sent 10 hitters to the plate in the second with four runs on three hits. Etheridge allowed back to back singles through the right side to load the bases but struck out both Melody Forstie and Kammy Fisher to limit the damage.

The Yellowjackets filled the bases in the third and scored two runs when Allie Hughes reached on an error charged at shortstop and advanced to second on the throw. Brittanee Fisher struck out looking to end the threat but the Yellowjackets added two runs in the fourth to trail 4-3.

Andrea Wood opened up the fifth inning with a double for the Coyotes and Brittney Scardina singled in a run. A double by Raven LeClair brought another runner home and an RBI ground out by Cat Calderon brought the inning total to three. Maddy Lincoln pitched the final 3.0 innings for MSUB and allowed three earned runs and struck out one.

The Yellowjackets fell to 0-2 all-time against California State University San Marcos. The Coyotes prevailed 10-5 in Las Vegas, Nevada in February, 2015.

THE BUZZ: Rylan Austin was awarded St. Vincent Healthcare player of the day after putting up three hits and two runs batted in over the two games. Austin also pitched 5.0 innings against Humboldt State and allowed three earned runs with four strikeouts.

UP NEXT: The Yellowjackets (8-17) are scheduled to play California State University San Bernardino (15-9) Saturday at 10 a.m. followed by No. 13 California State University Chico (18-7) at 3 p.m.

Earlier this week, after getting pummeled 11-2 in game one, the Yellowjackets rose up in the sixth inning of game two to earn a split of Thursday afternoon’s doubleheader against Western Oregon University, winning 10-6 at Rainbow Fields in Modesto California. The two games represented the first half of a weather halted Great Northwest Athletic Conference series that was originally scheduled to take place in Billings. Instead, MSUB scored six runs in the sixth inning of game two and came back to win at a neutral site location as the home team.

“Game one was obviously frustrating for us offensively but I was really proud of how we fought back to win in game two,” commented head coach Jessica Rayman. “I hope we can carry the positivity from the sixth inning of game two into the Tournament of Champions tomorrow.”

After the ‘Jackets took a 6-5 lead, Madison Kelly smashed a three run home run over the left field fence to cap off the comeback in game two. MSU Billings (8-15, 2-8 GNAC) is scheduled to play a pair of games on Friday in the Tournament of Champions hosted by Stanislaus State beginning at 9 a.m.

Game 1 – MSU Billings 2, Western Oregon 11 (five innings)

The Wolves began with five runs in the first inning and ended with 12 hits as a team in a route of the Yellowjackets in game one. MSUB managed just three hits and committed five errors, which contributed greatly to the loss. Haley Fabian (7-2) pitched a solid game for WOU and allowed one earned run and three hits over 5.0 innings while striking out seven and walking four. Maddy Lincoln (3-9) took the loss for the ‘Jackets. She threw all five innings and allowed seven earned runs, 12 hits, walked two and struck out four.

After taking a 9-2 lead through three innings, the Wolves scored one run in the fourth and another in the fifth to force the Yellowjackets off the field due to the 10-run rule. Mariah Deleon went 3-for-4 as the clean-up hitter in Western Oregon’s batting order. Deleon had one home run, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. She also made eight putouts at catcher for WOU to positively impact the game.

Jolene House led the Yellowjackets offense with two hits in three opportunities. House also scored both runs for MSUB in the game. Cailee Morgan was the only other player to reach base on a hit for the ‘Jackets.

Game 2 – MSU Billings 10, Western Oregon 6

Trailing 6-4 in the sixth inning, the Yellowjackets mounted a six run rally with four hits and a three run home run by Kelly. The Wolves began with two runs in the first and one in the second before MSUB found some punch in the batter’s box. House reached on an infield error to lead off the third inning, and Rylan Austin followed with the same result. A groundout by Brittanee Fisher brought House across home plate and Payton Reynolds reached on an error to score Austin.

The ‘Jackets added two additional runs in the fourth but stunned the Wolves by bringing nine to hit in the sixth. Georgiabelle Benning reached on a walk to start the rally and Morgan advanced her to second on a sacrifice. After a walk was issued to Austin, Allie Hughes, Fisher, and Reynolds singled in succession to give the Yellowjackets their first lead of the day 7-6. Madison Kelly’s three run shot added insurance and Alyssa Etheridge faced four hitters in the seventh to close out the game.

Etheridge (4-4) pitched 7.0 innings and was the winning pitcher after surviving five earned runs on eight hits. The freshman walked eight and struck out five. Reilly Tidwell (0-2) took the loss for Western Oregon having pitched 6.0 innings with five strikeouts, seven earned runs, and eight hits against.

THE BUZZ: Madison Kelly was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the day for the Yellowjackets. Kelly notched her first home run of the season and fifth of her career against Western Oregon.