No. 25 Softball rallies for a 7-6 win over No. 16 Trine (Ind.) to force a winner-take-all Game 15 in NCAA Regionals
By Tim Glon
| NCAA Tournament Site |
ALMA, Mich. -- Sophomore Christin Miller beat out an infield single to allow junior Ashley Sujkowski to score the winning run as No. 25 Ohio Northern rallied to beat No. 16 Trine (Ind.) 8-7 in the finals of the NCAA III Regionals Sunday afternoon at Scots Field.
The second-seeded Polar Bears improve to 30-12, while the top-seeded Thunder falls to 40-9.
The two teams will play again in a winner-take-all contest Monday morning at 10 am as ONU entered the finals with one loss and Trine was undefeated.
Monday's victor will play the winner of the Bloomington, Ill., Regional in the first round of the World Series Friday at 10 am in Salem, Va.
Junior Ashley Sujkowski drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning with the score tied at 6-6.
She advanced to second on a wild pitch and tagged and went to third on a long foul out by freshman Jamie Westinkirchner.
One out later, Miller beat out a chopper to the shortstop, allowing Sujkowski to score the winning game and force a Game 15 in the tournament.
"This team did a great job of battling back," ONU head coach Kim Burke said. "They kept their composure and did not quit. This was a total team effort and keeps us alive to win the tournament and go to the World Series."
Ironically, it was the first time in 14 NCAA Regional games that the lower-seeded team won ad the higher seeds were a perfect 13-0 until that point.
Northern got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when freshman Kelly Sheridan drilled a two-out double to right center field and scored one out later on a single to center by senior All-American Jackie Mangola.
The Polar Bears got three more runs in the bottom of the second on a two-run single by Sheridan and an RBI single by senior All-American Kimi Blewett to take a 4-0 lead.
But the Thunder got two runs back in the top of the third to cut the lead in half and pull within 4-2.
Trine scored four times in the top of the sixth, collecting four hits and taking advantage of two Polar Bear errors, to grab a 6-4 lead.
But Northern quickly responded as Blewett drilled an RBI single to center to score sophomore Colleen Baliga to pull the Polar Bears within 6-5.
Senior Cassie Gaye then tied the game with a 2-out, RBI single up the middle to score sophomore pinch-runner Carly McKenzie and tie the game at 6-6.
Sophomore Dani Steepe got the win with 1.1 innings of shutout in relief and improved to 6-1 on the season. Steepe is now 3-0 in this tournament and has not allowed an earned run in 19.1 innings of work.