Jackets walk-off with win on Senior Day - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Jackets walk-off with win on Senior Day

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Cori Gammon ended her four-year career at Montana State University Billings by crossing home plate with the winning run on the final play of the 2016 season as the Yellowjackets defeated Northwest Nazarene University 9-1 in six innings on Senior Day Saturday afternoon in Game 2 of a Great Northwest Athletic Conference doubleheader at Avitus Group Stadium.

Senior Amanda Roark pitched all 13 innings in the doubleheader and was caught by fellow senior Haley Rowe, as the three graduating players for the Yellowjackets ended their careers with exclamation points after being honored in a pregame ceremony.

Rowe and Gammon each had base hits in their final career at bats, and Roark ended her career by earning the win in Game 2. “Overall this entire weekend has been great for our seniors, and all three of them did phenomenal,” said MSUB head coach Rebekah Gasner. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more from them, and it was great to honor them and finish with a series win.”

MSUB finished the year with a record of 13-36 overall and 5-22 in league play, while the Crusaders wound up 17-28 and 11-16 in conference games.

In perhaps the two best starts of Roark’s four-year career, she allowed just three total earned runs on 15 hits in 13 innings on the day, and the Yellowjacket defense turned four inning-ending double plays in support of the senior. “I knew I was going with her in Game 1, and I knew I was going with her in Game 2,” Gasner commented on Roark. “She’s been our work horse the entire season, so it’s really great that she had such an awesome finish for us.”

Bella Rovens went 3-for-7 with her first home run of the year, and Kelsey Devlin went 5-for-7 and had the game-winning hit in the seventh that scored Gammon in Game 2.

Game 1 – Northwest Nazarene 9, MSU Billings 5

In an otherwise stellar display of defense, the Yellowjackets committed three errors and had a passed ball in the sixth inning to allow NNU to score six unearned runs and seven total to blow the game open. MSUB entered the sixth with a 2-1 lead in support of Roark, but the Crusaders capitalized on the poor defense and led 8-2 by the end of the long frame.

Solo home runs from Nicole Tiffany in the sixth and Myrissa Prince in the seventh got a couple of runs back for MSUB, but starter Brooke Bonsen re-entered the game and finished for NNU.

After a 1-2-3 top of the first inning, Rovens led off the bottom of the first with a double to left and scored on an RBI-ground out by Heather Tracy. The ‘Jackets made it 2-0 in the second inning on the 11th home run of the year by Devlin, as she cleared the left-field fence for the second straight day and moved into a tie for the team lead in long balls.

Bonsen and Roark put up zeroes through the fourth inning, the latter making three solid fielding plays in the circle on balls hit back to her. With one out and a runner on first in the fourth, Devlin snagged a sharp ground ball and fired around the horn to Prince and Cameron Cassinelli for a 5-4-3, inning-ending double play.

NNU scored on a ground out by Anna Olson in the top of the fifth, but Rowe threw out a runner attempting to advance to third to end the inning and limit the damage. Kylie Orr led off the top of the seventh with a solo home run to increase NNU’s lead, and the Crusaders prevented a series sweep with the victory.

Cassidy Fifield and Orr each had a pair of RBIs in Game 1, while Kendall Goodwin allowed just one run in 3 1/3 strong innings of relief.

Game 2 – MSU Billings 9, Northwest Nazarene 1 (6 Innings)

Gammon trotted across the plate as Devlin’s line drive to center nestled up against the fence, and turned towards her teammates who embraced her along the third-base line. MSUB led just 3-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, but the offense came to life as Devlin started the frame with a double.

Seven hits later the ‘Jackets sealed their first series win of the season, and sent Roark, Rowe, and Gammon off on a high note. “I just had a feeling, and I knew that was what was going to happen,” Gammon commented on the final play of her career. “I knew I was scoring, and Kelsey had been hitting great all game so I knew she was going to get me in.”

For the first time in the series the Crusaders were the first team to score, as Ali Schauer grounded a base hit into left field with Fifield on second base. Gammon fired a throw on a line to Rowe at the plate, but Fifield was called safe and NNU led 1-0.

Goodwin was outstanding in her start in the circle, retiring the first seven ‘Jackets she faced before a one-out walk to Prince in the bottom of the third. Gammon brought Prince home with a ground out and tied the score at 1-1 early on.

After retiring the side in order in the second, Roark used one solid defensive play from each of her infielders to get out of the third inning as Devlin, Prince, and Roark’s sister Jordyn Roark all fielded ground balls cleanly.

The ‘Saders loaded the bases in the top of the fourth with only one out, and Olson lifted a shallow fly ball down the line in left field. This time, Gammon’s on-the-money throw was in plenty of time and she nailed Lisa Sylvester at the plate for another twin killing to end a frame.

The ‘Jackets responded with two runs in the bottom half, as Jordyn delivered a two-run single into right field and made it 3-1.

After a heads-up play by Roark to cut down NNU’s lead runner at third base in the fifth, a base hit by Orr put two on with one out. Tracy made a sliding catch in right field on a sinking line drive to her left, and came up throwing a strike to second base for the second double play of the game.

Another double play helped Roark work around a one-out walk in the sixth, as Jordyn snagged a line drive and threw to Cassinelli at first to set up the game-winning rally in the bottom half. “That was awesome, and I love watching Jordyn,” Roark commented on playing with her sister behind her. “She was turning double plays left and right, and it’s great getting to play with my sister one last time.”

THE BUZZ: Roark was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…she threw 20 innings and three complete games in her final career series, allowing just four earned runs to the Crusaders…with six hits on the weekend, Rovens now has 161 in her career and ends the year No. 7 in that category in the MSUB record books…Roark finished her career with 240 innings pitched to push her to No. 9 in MSUB history…MSUB totaled nine home runs in the series, with five on Friday and four more Saturday.

SENIOR SALUTE: Roark, Rowe, and Gammon were joined by their families and teammates during a pregame ceremony, honoring their careers as ‘Jackets. NNU’s Schauer and Morgan Thome were also recognized during the ceremony, as the two seniors for the Crusaders played for the final time in their careers as well.

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