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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Pittsburgh softball team had a historic day at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan as the Panthers eliminated both Oakland and No. 19 Cal to earn their first-ever NCAA post-season wins and to advance to the NCAA Regional Final, which will take place at 3:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, May 17 against No. 3 Michigan.
In the Panthers' first elimination game, Pitt (37-21) trailed Oakland (27-24), 3-2, entering the fifth inning, but came back to win, 6-3, and advance to the second elimination game, where they took down the Golden Bears (39-18), 6-3, in a rematch.
"I'm so extremely proud of this team," said head coach Holly Aprile. "From the ACC Tournament through now we have had some superior performances on the mound which is where you need them. Savannah [King] has pitched some of her best games of the year in the post-season and Kayla [Harris] came out today with that same sort of thing in both of those games."
With the Panthers' three home runs so far this weekend, and Jenna Modic's grand slam to cap it off, the 2015 Pitt softball team has broken the all-time single-season home run record with 52.
Kayla Harris had her best outings of the season on the mound today, striking out a career best 16 batters and giving up just three runs total in 13.1 innings pitched. 10 of Harris' strike outs came against Cal, with the first four being the first batters of the game. The freshman standout gave up 10 combined hits, less than one per inning, while only walking four.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- A slow offensive start to the NCAA South Bend Regional for the University of Notre Dame softball team in its first game on Friday was an offensive anomaly from what has become normal, even expected, during the 2015 season. The Irish corrected and connected in a huge way facing elimination on Saturday, combining for 29 runs on 27 hits in only 10 innings to defeat Northwestern 14-5 and Ball State 15-4 at Melissa Cook Stadium.
The day two sweep for No. 21/22 Notre Dame (42-14) eliminated both Northwestern (28-23) and Ball State (34-25) from the 2015 NCAA Championship, and advanced the Irish into the regional final round against Kentucky Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET) at Melissa Cook Stadium. An "if necessary" game would follow a Notre Dame win at approximately 4 p.m.
Playing as the visiting team on the scoreboard in both games due to tournament rotation, Notre Dame scored runs in nine of the 10 innings it played, totaling eight runs in both the second and fifth innings. The Irish never trailed in either contest against Northwestern and Ball State, and officially smashed the previous program record for runs scored in a single season (369, 2010) by finishing Saturday at 392 runs scored in 56 games this season.
As a team, Notre Dame batted a combined .482 in elimination play with five doubles, two triples and three home runs, logging 26 RBI on its 29 runs scored and adding a team .804 slugging percentage. Irish hitters reached base at a .551 clip on the day, and were a perfect 4-for-4 on stolen base attempts.
HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Senior pitcher Emily Weiman threw a one-hitter against the 17th-ranked James Madison Dukes to lift the NC State softball team to a 2-0 win against the host and top seed in the NCAA Harrisonburg (Va.) Regional, Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park.
With the win, the Wolfpack advances to the regional final for the third consecutive year and second consecutive year without a loss. The game will take place on Sunday at noon, with a second game to be played at 2 p.m. if necessary.
State is just one win away from its first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance and would have to be beaten twice on Sunday. NC State has now won 11 of its last 12 games.
The Wolfpack moves to 37-20 on the season, which marks the most wins for the program under the direction of third-year head coach Shawn Rychcik. James Madison will await the winner of the Fordham/Binghamton elimination game to decide who will advance to the regional final on Sunday to play NC State.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In dramatic fashion and in front of its home fans at JoAnne Graf Field, No. 9 Florida State (47-12) scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat UCF (49-7) by a score of 2-1 in the winner’s bracket game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional.
Maddie O’Brien led off the seventh inning with a solo home run to left field and Alex Powers hit a walk-off RBI triple into the right field corner to score Jessica Warren and give the Seminoles a 2-1 victory.
“Outstanding ball club – UCF,” said FSU head coach Lonni Alameda. “(Shelby) Turnier is an outstanding pitcher. We knew it would be a battle and that’s a good TV game, a good collegiate game. The belief until the very end is huge for our team and for everyone to step up off of the bench and get their jobs done was amazing.
“I can’t say enough about our experience. (Maddie O’Brien) has been in that situation so many times and for her to trust herself and trust her at-bats, to come through for the team, it was awesome.”
“I think if we do keep the one-pitch mentality, next-pitch mentality then that’s when we are going to be successful,” said Powers. “If we get caught up on the three times that I ended up not being successful for the team, then it wouldn’t have allowed me to be successful the fourth time. So just keeping that next-pitch mentality is what keeps us going.”
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A spirited comeback from the Virginia Tech softball team fell just short as the Hokies fell to Longwood 6-4 in eight innings Saturday afternoon at Lee Stadium in an elimination game at the Knoxville Regional of the 2015 NCAA Softball Championship.
The Lancers jumped on Tech starter Kelly Heinz in the first inning, scoring three runs on three hits to force a pitching change. Longwood plated another run in the top of the fifth inning to stretch its lead out, but the Hokies didn’t give up and rallied in the fifth inning. They got their first hit of the game in the fifth inning when catcher Katey Smith led off with a home run off the scoreboard. Kelsey Mericka followed that up with a solo home run to right-center field, her 17th of the season to set a new school record for home runs in a season. She entered the game tied with Megan Evans, who had 16 in 2005.
Later in the inning, Jessie Mehr (walk) scored from first base on Bailey Liddle’s double to the gap and Lauren Gaskill tied the game up with a single to plate pinch runner Whitney Saunders, who twisted around the tag to score in fantastic fashion.
The game remained tied and headed to extra innings, where the Lancers finally broke through with a two-RBI, two-out triple off the wall to go ahead 6-4. Tech tried to mount a comeback as the tying run came to the plate, but couldn’t get the big hit to tie it back up again, falling in extra innings.
ATHENS, Ga. –The University of North Carolina softball team fought to remain in the NCAA Softball Tournament on Saturday, defeating Central Connecticut State 8-0 before dropping a heartbreaker to Georgia 6-5.
“I was really proud of how our whole team competed and that's all you can ask” said Hall of Fame Head Coach Donna J. Papa. “There's always going to be just one team standing at the end of the year. I'm really proud of how we competed both in the Central Connecticut game and into this one and we had just a lot of confidence. I always felt like we were going to win the game and we came up one run short.”
Jenna Kelly went 5-5 over the course of the day with five RBI and two home runs.
In contrast to yesterday’s one-hit outing against Western Kentucky, the Tar Heels got on the scoreboard early in their first game of the day against Central Connecticut State.
After Aquilla Mateen reached second base on a throwing error by the CCSU pitcher, Kristen Brown lofted a single to left field to put runners on the corners in the top of the first. Brown would steal second base on the next at-bat, allowing Mateen to score on the throw down to the bag.
Louisville Falls to Indiana State 2-1 in Eight Innings
COLUMBIA, Mo. - University of Louisville sophomore Maryssa Becker struck out seven and scattered three hits and senior Kelsi Jones hit her fifth home run of the season, but it wasn't enough as the Cardinals lost a 2-1, eight-inning heartbreaker to Indiana State in a Columbia Regional elimination game Saturday evening. The Cardinals finish the season with a 30-19 overall record.
"I thought Maryssa pitched a tremendous game," said UofL head coach Sandy Pearsall. "Once again, we hit the ball hard, but it was right at people. Credit Indiana State, for being able to manufacture runs."
The teams played through seven scoreless innings with the Cardinals outhitting the Sycamores 5-1 before Indiana State(27-30) broke through with two runs in the eighth.
Becker, who had a no-hitter broken up by Mallory Schneid's infield single in the fifth inning had retired eight straight batters before Schnied connected on a one-out double in the eighth. Erika Crissman entered to pinch run and was safe on a play at third when Alexa Cavin reached on a fielder's choice to place runners on the corners with one out. Kassie Brown's RBI hit plated Crissman and broke a scoreless tie. A passed ball sent Cavin to third and Brown to second. Rylee Holland sent a grounder to Louisville third baseman Hailey Smith who teamed with catcher Alison Szydlowski to tag Cavin out at the plate. Brown crossed the plate on the play after an attempt to throw Holland out at second.
The Cardinals entered the eighth down 2-0. Kelsi Jones sent a one-out shot over the left centerfield fence to pull Louisville within a run. Indiana State pitcher Taylor Lockwood retired the next two batters to end the game.