Yellowjacket Bats Come Alive in Game 2 for DH Split Friday - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Yellowjacket Bats Come Alive in Game 2 for DH Split Friday

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Bella Rovens tied the Montana State University Billings career hit record, going 5-for-7 to help the Yellowjackets split a Great Northwest Athletic Conference doubleheader at Northwest Nazarene University Friday at Halle Softball Field.

Rovens upped her four-year total to 207, which ties the career record held by Terina Stacks (2006-09). With her next hit, Rovens will assume sole possession of first place in Yellowjacket history, after already standing as No. 1 in school history in at-bats (599), runs (152), and walks (86). “I am so proud of Bella, and something we talked about in between games was how she has poured so much into this program,” said MSUB head coach Jessica Rayman. “The fact that she is breaking this record is proof that her hard work is paying off. She comes in every day, and does not only what is asked of her, but goes above and beyond. She is a huge leader, and this is not about a record for her, but what’s important for the team. I’m lucky to at least get a year to coach her, and wish I had her for three more. Bella is so level-headed and I am proud of what she has accomplished the whole year.”

The big effort from the senior helped MSUB to a 12-6 win in Game 2, after the ‘Jackets lost 6-2 to the Crusaders in the opener. MSUB is now 15-28 overall and 9-13 in GNAC play, hanging onto hopes for a spot in the GNAC Championships in sixth place in the league standings. The Crusaders meanwhile are 22-22 on the year and 11-11 in the GNAC to sit in fourth place.

“It was fun to see our offense come alive, as we have been up and down a bit,” Rayman said. “It was good to see them break something open. Rissa’s home run set the tone, Kelsey tied it back up offensively the inning before, and Vanessa set the tone early and broke out for us. We did a good job of picking each other up in the next at bat and getting the momentum and keeping it.”

Vanessa Almario hit her first career home run, Kelsey Devlin hit the 28th of her career, and Myrissa Prince hit her second of the year all in Game 2 to spark MSUB’s 12-run effort. MSUB snapped a five-game losing skid with the victory, coming within one hit of its season high of 17.

Game 1 – Northwest Nazarene 6, MSU Billings 2

The Crusaders used a pair of three-run innings and a strong performance by Brooke Bonsen in the circle to extend MSUB’s losing streak to five games. Cassidy Fifield delivered a huge, bases-clearing, two-out double in the bottom of the second inning, for what ended up being the winning hit in the game.

Rovens went 2-for-4 and scored both of the Yellowjackets’ runs, but it was all the offense MSUB could come up with in the series opener.

MSUB responded to NNU’s three-run second inning with one run in the top of the third, when Rovens scored on a ground ball into the outfield by Megan Dettling.

Bonsen worked around a pair of singles in the fourth inning, and was rewarded with three more in the bottom of the frame. Kylie Orr delivered a two-out, two-run single, and an ensuing error by the ‘Jackets made the score 6-2.

Rovens led off the fifth and scored on an RBI-single by Cameron Cassinelli, but the ‘Jackets managed just one more baserunner the rest of the game against Bonsen.

Dettling struck out seven in a complete-game effort, allowing six runs on nine hits with four walks. Bonsen also had seven strikeouts in the complete game, scattering seven hits over her seven innings pitched.

Game 2 – MSU Billings 12, Northwest Nazarene 6

A big six-run seventh inning helped MSUB break away, as 11 hitters came to the plate in the decisive frame. Prince’s eighth career home run, a solo shot, started the scoring, and a two-out, RBI-single by Cassinelli nine batters later put the game out of reach.

MSUB generated a scoring chance immediately, as Rovens laced a base hit to left field to start the game. The ‘Jackets put runners on the corners after a bunt single by Cassinelli, but NNU starter Rylee Thomas got out of the inning with a foulout.

Cassidy Fifield stole the 49th base of her career, to move to No. 6 in GNAC history, and worked her way around on a one-out infield single by Orr to make the score 1-0 in the bottom of the first. MSUB starter Maddy Lincoln limited the damage under stress, punching out Lisa Sylvester with two on and two outs to end the threat.

MSUB took its first lead of the day in the top of the third inning, when Rovens drew a one-out walk and was tripled home by Heather Tracy. The junior came around to score and make it a 2-1 ballgame on an error by the Crusaders.

Lincoln tossed a shutdown inning in the bottom of the third, working around a leadoff single by Lauren Bassett and retiring the next three hitters in order. Almario connected on the first home run of her career in the top of the fourth, scoring Madison Kelly and Devlin to extend MSUB’s advantage to 5-1.

The Crusaders came roaring back however, matching MSUB with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Lily Paschal plated a pair with a single, and Orr had a two-out, RBI-hit to pull NNU within one, 5-4.

Devlin’s solo shot made it 6-4 in the fifth, but the Crusaders set up a dramatic finish with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to even the score at 6-6. NNU’s final runs of the game came after Lincoln got out of a huge jam in the top of the fifth, as she notched three straight outs after loading the bases to start the frame.

MSUB’s game-changing rally came after Abigail Watkins recorded the first out, as MSUB had eight hits in the inning. Rovens’ historic swing of the bat came on a two-out RBI-single into left field, in the midst of seven straight singles by the ‘Jackets.

Taylor Tokach earned her first win of the year, throwing the final 1 2/3 innings without allowing a run or hit. “Maddy came out well and kept her composure, and it was nice to be able to go to Taylor,” said Rayman. “Taylor continued to work the ball low, and that’s where she was getting them to swing and let her defense work. It was a team effort there from our staff in that game.”

Rovens and Tracy each had three hits in the nightcap, and Almario drove in four runs in the game to lead MSUB. Bassett, Orr, and Martinez each had a pair of hits for NNU, and Orr and Paschal each drove in two runs.

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