The Eastern Kentucky University softball team fell to South Dakota State University, 8-6, in the first round of the National Invitational Softball Championship.
EKU (34-21) struck first in the bottom of the second. Emily Corbitt sent a 3-2 pitch off the base of the wall for a double. After a walk by Zoe Mihalicz and Erica Bowers reached via a fielder’s choice loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second, Carly Robinson delivered a RBI ground out to bring home the first run of the game.
South Dakota State (37-17) answered back in the top of the fifth. After a leadoff walk by Megan Rushing, Lyndsey Crist sent the first pitch she saw over the center field fence to give the Jackrabbits a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth Hannah Clark sent a ground ball deep to the shortstop and was safe after the throw brought the first baseman off the bag, Melissa Jacobsen came all the way around from second to tie the game up at 2-2.
The Jackrabbits wasted no time getting those runs back. Julia Andersen doubled into the left center gap, followed by an error, put runners on first and second with no one out. Mallory McQuistan took the first pitch of her at bat over the left field fence to take a 5-2 lead after five and half innings.
Brooke Harrison got one back in the bottom of the sixth. Harrison sent the 2-1 pitch into the left center gap for a double to bring home Mihalicz and make the deficit 5-3.
South Dakota State scored three more in the top of the seventh on a three run home run by Ali Herdiska to take the 8-3 lead.
Colonels did not go down without a fight in the bottom of the seventh. Clark drew a four-pitch walk to get things started in the inning. After a Destinee Lizzmore single, Corbitt reached on a throwing error to load the bases with no one out. Erica Bowers fell down in the count 0-2 before singling up the middle to bring home two and make the score 8-5. Harrison brought home her second run of the game with a ground out to make it 8-6.
Eastern got out-hit on the game 9-5.
Corbitt went 1-for-2 with a double and two runs. Harrison went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
Eastern returns to the field tomorrow at 11 a.m. against South Dakota in an elimination game.