BROOKINGS, SD (goyotes.com) —Lightning didn’t strike twice at the Summit League Softball Tournament for South Dakota. The Coyotes dropped a 14-2 decision to Omaha and lost 3-0 to South Dakota State in the elimination game that followed Friday, sending South Dakota to a third-place finish.
Clara Edwards started both games in the circle for South Dakota. Omaha tagged her for five runs in the top of the first inning and coach Robert Wagner turned to Kori Wedeking in inning two. That allowed Edwards to face SDSU later in the day and she allowed just four hits to the top-seeded Jacks. But two errors behind her gave SDSU two runs and the Coyote offense couldn’t find a spark against Tori Kniesche who tossed her nation-leading 14th shutout of the season.
Edwards carried South Dakota as far as she could. She allowed 15 hits in 21 innings at the tournament and struck out 13. It was the walks, a rarity for Edwards throughout the season, that proved costly Friday. She issued three in the first inning against Omaha and two in a two-run third inning for SDSU, its first two earned runs off Edwards in 15 innings this season.
The Coyote offense had scraped by with a pair of 2-0 wins in the first two tournament games, but hard-hit balls throughout the day found gloves instead of grass.
Edwards and center fielder Courtney Wilson hit safely in both games Friday, combining for four of South Dakota’s six hits. Wilson plated Edwards with a double in the third inning against Omaha after Edwards had led off the frame with a two-bagger of her own. Delaney White plated the second run with a sacrifice fly.
South Dakota State advanced to Saturday’s championship series where Omaha awaits. The Jackrabbits will have to beat Omaha twice to win the tournament. Omaha needs one win for its first tournament title.