South Dakota State softball clinches third straight Summit League title
Jacks win 14th straight conference game to claim regular season championship
BROOKINGS — For the third year in a row, South Dakota softball rules the Summit League.
The Jackrabbits improved to 14-0 in conference play with Sunday's 10-0 romp over Kansas City, clinching the regular season Summit League title for the third consecutive season.
The Jacks got a pair of home runs from Alexa Williams and another dominant pitching performance from ace Tori Kniesche to complete the three-game weekend sweep of the Kangaroos.
But the story isn't what they did Sunday, it's what they've done all spring.
Before the season, the Jacks said goodbye to head coach Krista Wood (who built the program from also-ran to mid-major power), saw power hitting slugger Cylie Halverson transfer to Arkansas and have been without their other ace pitcher, Grace Glanzer, for most of the season due to injury. They shrugged off those obstacles under new coach Kristina McSweeney and cruised to another championship.
Kniesche has been the catalyst, as she continued her record-setting season on Sunday with another complete game shutout, her 12th of the season. The right-hander gave up five hits and fanned 11 to improve to 20-4 on the year. She has not allowed an earned run in conference play, with her streak now at 77-plus innings. Sunday's win was the 59th of her career, breaking the SDSU all-time record.
The Jacks (32-15, 14-0) will wrap up the season this weekend when they host USD for three-game rivalry series. The teams will play a double-header starting at 1 p.m. Friday with the conclusion of the regular season on Saturday at noon. SDSU will then host the Summit League tournament May 10-13 with a berth in the NCAA tournament on the line.