Washington-St. Louis outlasted Wisconsin-Eau Claire in an eight-inning pitcher's duel at the Division III national championship, winning 1-0 on a walk off home run by Jamie Kressel.
Kressel, the leadoff hitter for Wash U. in the bottom of the eighth, took the first offering from Eau Claire starter Mallory McKinney over the left field fence, ending what was the first true pitching battle of the tournament.
McKinney was superb through the seven regulation innings, giving up just six hits and striking out nine after battling out of a few jams. Her Wash U. counterpart, NFCA All-American Laurel Sagartz, was equally impressive, giving up just three hits while striking out 11.
Eau Claire head coach Leslie Huntington was understandably proud of her team and her pitcher's performance. "McKinney is my rock in the circle, and she did a phenomenal job. It was just a classic battle, and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of," Huntington said.
Eau Claire made its strongest offensive threat in the top of the seventh, loading the bases on two singles and an error. Sagartz would then force a ground ball double play from catcher Bekki Kidnie to end the inning.
Eau Claire will face Emory tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. EDT in an elimination game, while Wash U. is one win away from the championship game, facing Linfield tomorrow at 5 p.m. EDT.
"We still have our best game left to play at this tournament. We did come through in the end, but have some work to do," Wash U. head coach Leticia Pineda-BouttÃ© said.