MSUB Softball and Baseball Enjoy Home Opener Wins - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

MSUB Softball and Baseball Enjoy Home Opener Wins

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Setting the tone with early leads in both games of a doubleheader Saturday, the Montana State University Billings softball team put to rest a five-game losing skid and won twice against Great Northwest Athletic Conference opponent Western Oregon University at Avitus Group Stadium.

Cameron Cassinelli homered in each game of the team’s 2017 home debut, upping her team-leading total to nine on the year while also driving in six runs in the doubleheader. Maddy Lincoln pitched MSUB to a win with a complete game in the opener, and Megan Dettling tossed a complete game and homered to lift the ‘Jackets in Game 2.

The ‘Jackets collected 25 hits in the doubleheader sweep, while allowing only 13 to the Wolves. MSUB improved to 11-16 overall and is even at 7-7 in league play with the victories. The Wolves meanwhile fell to 9-8 on the year, and started the conference slate 0-2.

“We played really well today and everything finally came together,” commented MSUB head coach Jessica Rayman. “Our defense looked good, pitching was good, and offensively we were consistently scoring. We were making good adjustments, and it was fun to come out and get two wins on our first day out on our home field.”

Game 1- MSU Billings 7, Western Oregon 3

The Yellowjackets struck first with a five-run third inning, and rode another complete game by GNAC innings-pitched leader Lincoln in a narrow Game 1 victory.

A two-run home run by Cassinelli in the bottom of the fourth helped the ‘Jackets respond to a two-run top of the frame by the Wolves, extending the lead back out to five runs and giving Lincoln breathing room.

WOU starter Sammi Cadwallader got through the first two innings without allowing a run, stranding MSUB’s Heather Tracy on third in the first frame and leaving a pair of runners on to end the second. An error allowed Bella Rovens to reach to start the third however, and kicked off the Yellowjackets’ biggest individual rally of the day.

Tracy, Cassinelli, and Jessica Bagnell each had doubles in the inning, and the Yellowjackets also drew three walks by the time their lead reached 5-0.

Lincoln had allowed just three baserunners up to that point in the game, but the Wolves kept themselves alive with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. An error, a walk, and a base hit loaded the bases, and pinch hitter Hailee Watilo delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single to make the score 5-2. Lincoln withstood another fielding miscue by the ‘Jackets, getting Ryanne Huffman to pop out and strand the bases full.

A one-out single by Dettling set the table for Cassinelli in the bottom of the inning, and the junior crushed a long home run over the fence in right to pad MSUB’s lead up to 7-2.

Lincoln responded with a clean fifth inning, and was aided by a double play by second baseman Myrissa Prince. The junior leapt to her left to snag a sharp line drive, and quickly fired a strike to Cassinelli at first to eliminate a leadoff baserunner.

Cadwallader kept MSUB’s bats quiet the rest of the game, working past a pair of singles in the sixth and keeping the deficit at five runs.

A home run by Zoe Clark in the top of the sixth gave WOU a bit of hope, but Lincoln finished off the complete game with a 1-2-3 seventh inning to earn the victory.

Kelsie Gardner was the lone WOU player with multiple hits in the opening game, going 2-for-4 at the plate. Five different ‘Jackets had multiple hits meanwhile, with Cassinelli going 2-for-4 with four RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Lincoln used 107 pitches in the complete game, striking out three and walking a pair while giving up one earned run on six hits.

Game 2 – MSU Billings 10, Western Oregon 2 (6 Innings)

Kelsey Devlin ended the game with an RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth, as the Yellowjackets took care of business with a run-rule victory to close out the doubleheader sweep. Dettling struck out three and scattered seven hits over six innings in the circle, and homered at the plate to contribute on both sides of the ball in the win.

Though Western Oregon took an early lead with a run in the top of the first, the ‘Jackets progressively built their advantage with two runs in the second and three more in both the third and fourth. Cassinelli’s second homer of the day got the scoring started for the ‘Jackets, as she plated Dettling with a long ball down the right-field line in the bottom of the second.

Freshman Emma Tucker got the rally started in the third, leading off with an infield single and working her way to third on a double by Rovens. With two outs, Dettling cleaned up the bases with a two-run shot to left center that made the score 5-1.

The ‘Jackets got back to work in the fourth, as Tucker, Rovens, and Devlin all had RBI-singles to push the team’s advantage to 8-1.

Chandler Bishop got a run back with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth inning, as the Wolves finally scored after just four baserunners allowed by Dettling in the second-through-fourth innings.

Tucker plated another run with a base hit in the bottom of the fifth, setting up the chance for Devlin to win the game in the sixth after Tracy’s leadoff double.

Tucker finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, and Rovens, Devlin, and Dettling each had a pair of hits for the ‘Jackets. Gardner again was the only Wolves player with two hits, while Bishop and Ashlee Lynch drove in the only two runs of the game for WOU.

Bishop also pitched all five-plus innings for the Wolves, striking out three and walking two while giving up 10 runs on 13 hits.

After three errors in the opening game, MSUB settled down and played clean defense without a miscue in Game 2.