The Coyotes hosted their home opener after the renovations to Nygaard field finished. The three-game series was against Western Illinois on April 15-16.
The Coyotes were the fourth to last team in the NCAA Division I softball, to host their home openers. The other three teams are SDSU, North Dakota and North Dakota State, respectively.
Due to weather, Saturday’s doubleheader was pushed back from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
In game one of the series, the Coyotes took a 3-0 win over the Leathernecks.
Junior outfielder Alecea Mendoza hit a RBI single into right field, allowing freshman infielder Delaney White to score.
Sophomore pitcher Clara Edwards hit a two-RBI single into right field, allowing Mendoza and junior outfielder Gabby Moser to score.
Western Illinois’ junior pitcher Emily Price pitched four innings and allowed three runs (all unearned), one walk, six strikeouts and four hits.
Edwards pitched a no-hitter in seven innings with two strikeouts and no walks as she picked up the win for the Coyotes.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Leathernecks took a 9-6 victory.
Western Illinois freshman infielder Malorie Gill hit a two-RBI single which brought home sophomore outfielder Kaylee Ketcherside and sophomore infielder Cynthia Hull. This put the Leathernecks up 2-0 after the second inning.
Gill hit another RBI single as sophomore outfielder Georgia Rea scored to make it 3-0 Leathernecks.
The next at-bat, junior infielder Gabriela Drager hit a single to left field, allowing Ketcherside to score.
In the fourth inning, Rea tripled and allowed freshman outfielder Alivia Beard to score making it 5-0 Western Illinois.
The Coyotes started scoring in the fourth inning when junior catcher Bela Goerke hit a three-run home run, leading senior infielder Aleesia Sainz and fifth-year outfielder Courtney Wilson to score. This three-run home run cut the Leathernecks lead to 5-3.
Junior infielder Alivia Conte singled to centerfield for an RBI, driving in White to bring the Coyotes within one.
Senior catcher Jordyn Pender hit an RBI single, leading Wilson to tie the game at five.
With the bases loaded, Moser was hit by a pitch allowing Goerke to score and giving the Coyotes their first lead of the game, 6-5.
The Leathernecks were down to their final out in the seventh inning when junior infielder Bella Alvarez hit an RBI single bringing Gill in to tie the game at six.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Coyotes had runners on the corners with two outs and a chance to walk it off, however, freshman infielder Brylee Hempey struck out to force extra innings.
As the teams prepared for the eighth inning and it got closer to 8 p.m., the umpires decided to suspend the game due to darkness.
The game resumed on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. The Leathernecks continued their comeback as they scored three runs. The three runs were enough to hold onto take the win 9-6 and even up the series.
The rubber match was won by the Coyotes 10-2 as they won the series 2-1.
In the top of the first inning, Western Illinois graduate pitcher Savannah Rodriguez hit an RBI double to start the scoring, sending freshman outfielder Maria Luna home.
The Coyotes answered back in the bottom of the first as Sainz hit a flyout to get sophomore infielder Tatum Villotta home.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Sainz drove in three runs with triple getting Villotta, Wilson and Conte home to put the Coyotes up 4-1
The Leathernecks got a run back in the following inning after Hull hit a RBI single to get Luna home. The score was 4-2 in favor of USD.
The Coyotes rallied in the sixth inning as they recorded six hits and scored six runs with RBI’s from Edwards, Wilson, Sainz (3) and Goerke to win by the run rule in the sixth inning by the final score of 10-2.
The Leathernecks are now 8-27 overall and 2-7 in conference play and will play a nonconference game versus Iowa on Wednesday before taking on Kansas City for their home finale series on April 22-23.
As for the Coyotes, their record moved to 19-18 overall and 8-3 in conference play. Their next matchup will be on the road against the Omaha Mavericks on April 22-23.