Western Courier

Necks look to tame Coyotes

Brooke Stulga winds up her pitch.

Brooke Stulga winds up her pitch.

Angel Strack/ Courier Staff

Angel Strack/ Courier Staff

Brooke Stulga winds up her pitch.

Haley Richards, Assistant Sports Editor

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Vermillion, S.D. — The Western Illinois softball team will hit the road to face the Coyotes of the University of South Dakota in a three-game series. The series will begin on Friday with a double-header then will continue again on Saturday.

The Purple and Gold are currently fifth in conference with a record of 7-22 on the season. Meanwhile, the Coyotes sit atop the Summit League with a 3-0 record in conference play and overall 13-21 record.

Western Illinois is coming off of a 12-0 loss against Bradley University. However, after having the weekend off they should be coming out in full swing against their conference foe. South Dakota is also coming off of a 9-3 loss against the University of Nebraska.

The Coyotes are led by junior catcher Jessica Rogers who is batting .341 and has totaled 30 hits on the season. Along with that she also leads the Summit League standings with eight homeruns and 28 RBIs. Senior infielder Emily Winckler is another offensive leader for South Dakota with eight homeruns and 26 RBIs on the season. The junior pitcher Dustie Durham is ranked third in the conference with eight wins on the season.

The Leathernecks currently rank 27th in the country and second in the Summit League in fielding percentage. The .973 fielding percentage is thanks to senior pitcher Brooke Stulga, senior outfielder Rachel Beatty, sophomore outfielder Jasmine Lara, junior infielder Hailey Duwa and junior infielder Madison Boone, who all have a perfect 1.000 percentage individually.

Junior pitcher Emily Ira also leads the conference in strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 6.21 batters for every batter she walks. Her rank is currently 19th in the nation. The 87 strikeouts she has places her at third in the Summit League, and her 7.9 strikeouts per seven innings rank her at 58th in the Division I rankings.

Last time these two teams met, Western won the series. They went 1-1 in the double-header matchup, winning the first game 9-4 and losing the second game 15-4. However, in the series finale, the Leathernecks beat the Coyotes 9-8. In the all-time series, South Dakota leads Western Illinois 14-4, but Western has won the last three of the four matchups.

After this weekend, and 28-straight road games, the Purple and Gold will play in their home opener on Saturday, April 7, against the Mastodons of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. This is another conference matchup for the Leathernecks who are currently ranked one spot below the Mastodons.

Twitter: hayfourrr

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Necks look to tame Coyotes