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Jackrabbits fall in league title to Mavericks

todayMay 11, 2024 1

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BROOKINGS, S.D. (SDSU) — South Dakota State was unable to earn a victory in two meetings against Omaha in the 2024 Summit League Softball Championship on Saturday, May 11, as the Mavericks claimed the tournament title over the Jackrabbits. Omaha clinched consecutive Summit League tournament championship behind 5-2 and 7-0 victories over SDSU at Jackrabbit Softball Stadium. Game One SDSU put two runners on base in the first inning, then followed it up with a Lindsey Culver double in the second, but were unable to plate any runs in their first two trips to the plate.  Omaha instead was able to strike first. The second batter of the frame in Maggie O’Brien hit a solo home run off starter Tori Kniesche to give the Mavericks a 1-0 advantage. The next inning saw the Mavs get their first two batters on base via walk. After an infield pop up, SDSU third baseman Cheyanne Masterson turned a 5-3 double play to get the Jackrabbits out of the jam. Leadoff hitter Mia Jarecki got the third inning started by giving SDSU some momentum. She sent a solo home run over the right-field fence to tie the score at 1-1. The Jacks put together another opportunity to add to their score as Emma Osmundson and Culver followed with no-out singles. However, three SDSU hitters were sent down – two of which came from strikeouts – by Maverick starter Kamryn Meyer to end the threat. Kniesche didn’t allow a hit from the second through the fifth innings as she kept the Mavs in check. SDSU meanwhile had another chance at scoring in the top of the fifth. Osmundson and Culver each recorded singles and put the two at first and second with one out. Two infield pop ups eventually ended the inning.The Mavericks finally got after Kniesche in the sixth. Three straight singles opened the frame as Omaha’s Alex Olsen stepped to the plate. The Maverick designated player turned on a 1-1 pitch and struck a shot just over the right-field fence for a grand slam. That made the score 5-1 and chased Kniesche from the game. South Dakota State came back to bat in the top of the seventh and picked up a run on an RBI groundout from Osmundson that plated Jarecki. Meyer finished off a complete-game performance for the Mavericks as they defeated the Jacks 5-2. The senior pitcher gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits. Meyer struck out nine hitters, while walking and hitting a batter apiece, and improved to 24-4 on the season. Kniesche fell to 17-7 in the circle. She allowed five hits and five runs, while she walked three batters and struck out six. Freshman Hailey Herman pitched a shutout inning of relief. Jarecki, Osmundson and Culver each had three hits for the Jacks. Alli Boyle hit a double as well.Game TwoThe Mavericks took control early in the meeting by scoring four runs in the first en route to claiming the 2024 Summit League Championship, 7-0. After an initial out, six consecutive Omaha batters reached base. A one-out single, followed by three straight walks, pushed the first run across home of the game. Omaha’s Ava Rongisch then hit a double down the left-field line to score three runs while she’d be thrown out on the play trying to extend her hit to a triple. SDSU starter Shannon Lasey was chased from the contest following another walk. Freshman Akayla Barnard came in for relief and eventually got the Jackrabbits out of the inning. Barnard pitched tough for the Jackrabbits as Meyer, starting again in the circle for Omaha, held SDSU to one hit through three innings. Barnard gave up five hits over 2 1/3 innings, however allowed one run in the span before the Jacks went to Kniesche to escape the fourth.The Jackrabbit lineup was held in check against The Summit League Pitcher of the Year and Summit League Tournament MVP in Meyer. SDSU received base hits from Rozelyn Carrillo, Boyle and Jarecki, but singles were all the Jacks could produce against Meyer. She threw a complete game shutout by striking out four batters and not allowing a walk.  Lasey was credited with the loss for the Jackrabbits in the circle. Kniesche wound up pitching 3 2/3 innings as the Mavericks scored another two runs off her. She struck out three Mavericks while not allowing a walk in her final appearance as a Jackrabbit.Notes

South Dakota State’s 2024 season ends with a 33-22 overall record on the season. Omaha improved to 41-13. 

The Jackrabbits fell to the Mavericks in The Summit League Softball Championship for the second consecutive season. Omaha had fallen to SDSU the previous two seasons. 

Omaha earned The Summit League’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Softball Championship by claiming the tournament title. SDSU was the conference’s regular season champion, earning the honor for the fourth straight season. 

SDSU’s Lindsey Culver, Mia Jarecki, Tori Kniesche, Emma Osmundson were named to The Summit League All-Tournament Team. 

The Jackrabbits season concluded with another 30-plus win total. It marks six straight years the program has achieved more than 30 wins which is the longest stretch in SDSU history.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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