HOUSTON – South Central Regional champion St. Edward’s fought off a late comeback by Barry to win the first game of the NCAA Division II Softball Championship by a score of 5-4.
St. Edward’s improves to 52-15 and advances in the winners bracket to face the winner of Game 2 between Francis Marion and Ferris State. That game will take place on Thursday at 3 pm Central Time. Barry is now 44-7 on the season and will face the loser of that same game on Thursday morning at 10 am.
St. Edward’s got on the board first, plating a run in the bottom of the third inning. Designated player Jamie Zilverberg led off the inning with a double down the left field line. She was sacrificed to third base by first baseman Stacy Giles and scored when third baseman Melissa McSheffery grounded to the shortstop, whose off-line fielders choice throw to the plate allowed Zilverberg to score and McSheffery to reach safely at first base.
The Hilltoppers added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. McSheffery opened the inning with a one-out single, followed by a single from left fielder Lexi Stephens to give the Hilltoppers two on with one out. After shortstop Mandy Phillips grounded into a fielders choice for the second out of the inning before right fielder Lisa Paul snuck ground-ball single through the left side, plating McSheffery. An errant throw in from the outfield advanced both runners an additional base, leaving runners on second and third with two outs. Centerfielder Kristen Lozano then connected on a two-RBI sinlge, bringing the St. Edward’s lead to 4-0 after five innings of play.
Barry rallied in the top half of the sixth inning third baseman Holli Davis opened with a one-out single, followed by a single from shortstop Al Peratoni and an RBI single from catcher Brittany Anderson with both Peratoni and Anderson taking an additional base on the play.
With two runners in scoring position and one out on the board, left fielder Shyla Rider drew a walk to load the bases, bringing up right fielder Christina DeTagle. DeTagle connected on a two-RBI single through the left side, plating two more runs to bring the Buccaneers within one run at 4-3.
A two-out single down the left field line by Megan Young created a fourth run in the inning, tying the game after six and a half innings of play.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Hilltoppers first two batters, Lexi Stephens and Mandy Phillips, walked, bringing right fielder Lisa Paul to the plate. Paul connected for her second hit and RBI of the game for a walk-off single and 5-4 victory for St. Edward’s
Robin Becker was the winning pitcher for St. Edwards, improving to 28-7 on the season. Amber Jack took the loss for Barry, falling to 10-5 on the year.