ONLINE EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE BY MATTHEW GOGERTY
Facing off against South Dakota State in a pair of games on Tuesday, the Drake softball team was unable to secure a win in the first game, a 10-6 loss. The Bulldogs came back in the second game, however, securing a 10-2 win.
The opening game was an equal display of effort and performance from both the Bulldogs and the Jackrabbits, especially in the early going. After the first inning, both teams had one run on the board. Then, in the third inning, both teams were able to score three.
with both teams going scoreless in the fourth. The Jackrabbits were able to score three runs in both the fifth and the sixth innings, making it a 10-4 lead going into the seventh.
Drake was able to conjure up a small rally in the final inning, with Taryn Pena and Tasha Alexander both getting an RBI in the final stretch, but it wouldn’t be enough to mount a full comeback.
But it was a night and day difference between the two games.
Drake came out with three runs in the first, all three resulting from a Kailee Smith home run, her first of the season.
In the top of the second, the Bulldogs took the field and were able to set down the Jackrabbits quickly, with three consecutive outs. Three Bulldog hits scored another run in the bottom of the inning.
The Jackrabbits seemed unable to figure out the Bulldogs offense thereafter. Kelsey Wright hit a single to the right field in the bottom of the third that drove two runs home. Kennedy Frank followed with a three-run homer, putting the Bulldogs up by five coming into the fourth.
The Jackrabbits were able to score their only runs of the game in the fourth on a two-run homer. But the Bulldogs had already secured the lead, and they even answered with another run of their own in the bottom of the fourth.
With a one more scoreless frame for the Jackrabbits, the game ended in the fifth inning with the Bulldogs taking the 10-2 victory.
The Jackrabbits had a meager four hits to the Bulldogs 12 in the second game. Mariah McKinnon pitched the first three and one-third innings after throwing three innings in the first game of the doubleheader, bringing a different display than what was seen at the Razorback Invitational in late February.
McKinnon, after her first five games, had a record of 1-3 and an ERA above 10. In her last four games she’s posted a record of 2-1 with an ERA just below 5.75, a sign of improvement as the Bulldogs near the midpoint of the season.
The Bulldogs will return to the road this weekend with a two-day, three-game series in Terra Haute against the Indiana State Sycamores, a conference opponent.