RALEIGH, N.C. -- No. 1-ranked and back-to-back defending champion St. Thomas never gave No. 2-ranked Muskingum a chance, needing only five innings to take a 13-2 win.
Senior all-American Janet Nagle did the work in the circle for the Tommies, giving up just two runs in five innings of work to win her 24th postseason victory; she has never lost a postseason game for the Tommies, who ran their own postseason win streak to 29.
The offensive output was a team effort for St. Thomas, as seven of nine starters hit safely and eight of nine starters scored.
The scoring began in the top half of the first, as all-American Carrie Embree led off the game with a solid single and was advanced on a single by all-American teammate Nikki Conway. All-American No. 4 Maria Bye would drive in the first Tommie run, as the Tommies took a quick 2-0 lead.
Muskingum would answer in the bottom half of the inning with Elaine Haubner scoring on one of two St. Thomas errors in the game. The Muskies bats were silent until the bottom of the fifth, as they pushed across one more run in the losing effort.
The St. Thomas bats erupted in the fourth, scoring seven runs on six hits and one Muskingum error. The highlight of the inning was a two-run home run by Janet Nagle that just cleared the left-center fence.
Four insurance runs were added in the top of the fifth, seemingly putting the game out of reach of the Muskies 13-1. For the game, Embree was 3-3 with a walk and three runs scored, Bye was 2-4 with four RBIs and third baseman Mandy Evans was 2-4 with three RBIs; the Tommies combined for 15 hits total.
St. Thomas moves on to face Rutgers-Camden tomorrow at 7 p.m. in a game that will place one team in Monday's championship, while Muskingum will face Ithaca in an elimination game at noon.