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Thomas blasted her first collegiate home run in the Cougars' 4-3 loss to SMSU
Courtesy: USF Athletics

Cougars Split NSIC Opener with SMSU

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 03/27/2013
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Sioux Falls (6-10, 1-1 NSIC) opened league play today with a double-header split against Southwest Minnesota State (8-6, 1-1 NSIC). The twinbill was relocated from SMSU to Sioux Falls due to unplayable conditions in Marshall and played on the turf at Bob Young Field.

The Cougars knocked off SMSU 9-0 via the mercy rule in game one to snap the visitors’ six-game winning streak, but the Mustangs bounced back to earn the split with a 4-3 (9 innings) victory in game two.

Junior righthander Bailey Bouman (3-3) posted her third straight win in the circle. The Pipestone native scattered four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in seven innings. She also went 4-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and a run scored.

Naomi Tesar finished 1-for-2 with two walks and three runs batted in. Kellen Dewey was 1-for-3 with three RBI while freshman Samantha Kane was 2-for-4 with her first career home run.

SMSU was held without an extra base hit and the Cougars rattled off nine unanswered runs to end the game after six innings.

USF chased Mustang starter Rachel Groff (2-1) with one out in the second inning and tagged the sophomore for six runs on nine hits. Rachel Hoeppner relieved Gross and stopped the bleeding, as she tossed 3.2 hitless innings. With Bouman also dealing, the game breezed to the top of the sixth frame, when Hoeppner gave the ball to freshman Katie Herron. Erin Scott led off with a bunt single and would score after a passed ball and error by the second baseman. Tesar drew a bases-loaded walk and Dewey’s sacrifice fly capped the scoring for the Cougars.

Bouman sent the Mustangs down in order in the bottom of the sixth to give USF the 9-0 mercy-rule shortened game.

It looked as though USF would give the Mustangs another early exit in the nightcap, but the Cougars’ bats went cold as the game went into extras and Jennifer Johnson ripped a bases-loaded single up the middle to give SMSU the 4-3 walk-off win in nine innings.   

The Cougars scored single runs in each of the first three innings off of solo homers by Shelby Thompson and Betsy Thomas and a left field RBI knock from starting pitcher Amanda Walter. But Hoeppner was back on the mound for SMSU and the ground ball machine (21 to just two fly outs) limited the Cougars to four hits in the final six innings.

Dewey just missed a lead-off homer in the top of the ninth that was ruled a double, but Hoeppner sent the Cougars down in order to leave her stranded.  

In all, the Cougars had as many hits (8) as stranded runners (8).       

But unlike game one, SMSU matched the Cougars hit for hit and Amy Dreessen homered in the third inning to erase a 3-2 deficit. The game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth, when Johnson delivered the game-winning hit for SMSU in a two-out, bases loaded situation.

Walters (2-6) took the loss for USF, allowing four runs on ten hits. She racked up nine strikeouts to five base on balls and threw just under 200 pitches in 8.2 innings of work. Hoeppner (6-5) gave up three runs on eight hits with one walk and recorded four strikeouts.

Erin Scott went 2-for-5 at the plate and Thompson finished 2-for-4 with a home run. Thomas was 1-for-4 with a homer while Walters provided the other RBI hit. Dewey and Larson each tallied a hit.

Weather permitting, USF will travel to Minot State and the University of Mary this weekend.

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