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Cochran Delivers Game Winner In Coyotes Home Opener

University of South Dakota Coyotes softball
University of South Dakota

VERMILLION, SD — South Dakota left fielder Katie Cochran delivered a walk-off single to win game one but the Coyotes lost a four-run lead in game two and split with North Dakota Tuesday at Nygaard Field. Scores went 4-3 and 9-8.

It was the first games of an 11-game homestand for the Coyotes (22-12), who played their first 32 games outside of Vermillion.

USD second baseman Matley Jones was 5-for-7 during the twin bill with two doubles and three RBIs. Right fielder Morgan Hancock was 3-for-7 and had a game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning of game one. It was Hancock’s fourth homer of the year. Teammate Yvon Minogue belted her fourth home run of the season in the first inning of game two.

Coyote pitcher Erica Denney surrendered her first runs in three starts, but pitched well enough to pick up her 13th win of the season. She had a season-high nine strikeouts against two walks and six hits in her complete-game effort.

North Dakota ace Emma Gronseth injured her pitching arm in the second inning of game one and did not return. Her replacement, Michelle Frank, struck out four in five innings, but a misplayed ground ball behind her led to three unearned runs that tied the game in the sixth. A leadoff double by Jones and Cochran’s sharply hit ball up the middle in the seventh left Frank (3-10) with the loss.

Both teams scored four runs in the first inning of game two. Taylor Hansen’s two-run double was the catalyst for North Dakota while Lindsey Boyd’s leadoff triple set the table for the Coyotes. Minogue’s homer and Jones’ two-run single knotted the game at 4-4.

South Dakota tacked on four more runs and took an 8-4 lead in the third inning. Jones, Kate Snow and Katie Dinning drove in a run each for the Coyotes, who out-hit North Dakota 12-5 in game two.

North Dakota took advantage of 11 free passes handed out in game two. UND scored two runs without the benefit of a hit in the fourth that cut the gap to 8-6. North Dakota scored three runs on two hits in the sixth that gave the team its lead.

Lexa Twist pitched four scoreless innings in relief in her first outing of the season to earn the game-two victory. Frank pitched a scorless seventh against the top of the Coyotes order to earn her second save of the season. Amanda Johnson, who had four hits on the day, and D Jantzer combined for five RBIs in game two for UND.

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Courtesy: University of South Dakota

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