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South Dakota State softball wins 14-inning thriller to complete Summit League sweep of Omaha

Ace pitcher Tori Kniesche earns win in all three games

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South Dakota State outfielder Lindsey Culver bats during the second game of the Jackrabbits' Summit League sweep of Omaha on Saturday, April 7, 2023 at Bowden Field in Sioux Falls.
Matt Zimmer/Forum News Service

SIOUX FALLS — It had to be a frustrating weekend for the Omaha softball team.

Reigning Summit League champion South Dakota State swept a three-game series over the Mavericks, winning all three games by one run, two in walk-off fashion and Saturday's finale in a whopping 14 innings, the longest game in program history.

Ace pitcher Tori Kniesche carried the Jackrabbits, pitching an 8-inning shutout with 18 strikeouts in the opener, coming on to earn the win in relief in Game 2's 5-4 win, then delivering a superhuman effort on Saturday, pitching 14 shutout innings to keep the Jacks in it until they finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the 14th when Tori Tollefson scored on an Omaha throwing error to provide the 1-0 win.

For the weekend, Kniesche, who has six career no-hitters, tossed 23.2 scoreless innings, allowing eight hits, seven walks and whiffing 34 to earn three wins that improve her record on the year to 15-4. She threw over 200 pitches in Saturday's marathon finale.

With the wins, SDSU improved to 6-0 in Summit League play and 23-14 overall. The weekend's games were played on the artificial turf at Augustana's Bowden Field in Sioux Falls, as the Jacks natural grass home park in Brookings is not yet ready for play.

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Jocelyn Carrillo delivered the game-winner in Friday's series opening 1-0 win, with a single in the bottom of the 8th that scored Mia Jarecki.

In Game 2, SDSU sent Shannon Lasey to the circle, and she struggled with command, walking eight in 5.1 innings and allowing four runs. The Jacks trailed 4-3 heading to the bottom of the sixth when the pieced together a rally and got a two-run single from Jarecki to score Lindsey Culver and pinch-runner Emma Christensen. Jarecki had three hits in the game while Alli Boyle had a two-run triple. The Jacks are slated to visit Iowa State for a Tuesday non-conference double header before hosting North Dakota State next weekend. If the warm forecast holds, the Jacks should be able to host those games in Brookings for their official home opener.

Matt Zimmer is a Sioux Falls native and longtime sports writer. He graduated from Washington High School where he played football, legion baseball and developed his lifelong love of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, he returned to Sioux Falls, and began a long career in amateur baseball and sports reporting. Email Matt at mzimmer@siouxfallslive.com.
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