Softball travels to South Dakota State seeking a series win

Christopher Bean, Assistant Sports Editor

BROOKINGS, S.D. — The Western Illinois softball team travels to South Dakota State University to compete in a three-game series. The Leathernecks are 8-17 and tied for fifth in The Summit League with a 1-5 record. The Jackrabbits are 24-8 and tied for first in The Summit League with a 3-0 record.

Western is looking to bounce back this week after getting swept by the other first place team, North Dakota State University. In the three-game series, the Necks only averaged 3.7 runs a game while giving up 8.0 runs. A big reason for the lack of offensive success for the Necks was because of senior pitcher KK Leddy. Leddy was phenomenal once again, only giving up seven hits and one earned run in 11 2/3 innings, picking up two wins and a save in the series. Ace Emily Ira was not herself, getting rocked in the first game and giving up seven earned runs on nine hits in four innings in the 12-0 loss to start the series. However, it was much better for her in the next game, giving up one run on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. She kept the Necks in the game, but unfortunately their comeback came up short in a 10-7 loss. On Sunday, Abby Carlin started the series finale, going the distance giving up five runs on seven hits in the loss. Sydney Hollings led Western in hits (four) and RBI’s (three) in the series.

South Dakota State is coming off a 14-3 loss to Nebraska on Tuesday, but in their only Summit League series, they swept Omaha, outscoring them 25-5 in a three-game series. The Jackrabbits have had a great year so far, leading the league in winning percentage with .750 percent. A huge reason is because they’ve scored the most runs (199) and tied for the least amount of runs given up with NDSU (111). Senior infielder Ali Herdliska is cementing her legacy as a Jackrabbit. She is third in the league with her .378 batting average, and second with her 31 RBI’s. On the mound this year for SDSU they have three really good pitchers in their rotation. Sophomore Kendra Conrad leads the league in earned run average with 1.81. Teammates Morgan DeMarais is fifth with a 3.25 (ERA) and Taylor Compton is 10th with a 3.92 (ERA). Conrad is tied fourth with eight wins, while DeMarais and Compton are tied for seventh with six wins.

The Leathernecks and Jackrabbits will start their series on Saturday with a doubleheader and the series finale on Sunday. Western is looking for momentum after starting 1-5 in the conference, and there is no better way to get it by winning the series against the best team in the Summit.