Big bats push Midwestern St. to title
Mooney launches second career grand slam in eight-run frame
WICHITA FALLS, Texas -- No. 5 Midwestern State needed two wins to clinch the program's first Division II Softball Championship tournament berth Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Division II South Central Super Regional at Mustangs Park.
Nine consecutive hitters reached as the Mustangs ran by West Texas A&M with solo homers from Courtney Bingham and Kim Jerrick and a grand slam by Mallory Mooney as part of an eight-run seventh inning uprising as MSU rocked the Lady Buffs 11-2 in the Game 3 championship clincher.
"This team has a flare for the dramatic," MSU coach Brady Tigert said. "We just needed to relax a little bet and go out and play ball. That spilled over into every facet of the game. They went out there and got it done."
The Mustangs cashed in on three walks issued by West Texas A&M starter Shelbey Cockrell take a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Amanda Potysman and a two-run Bingham double down the right-field line.
But West Texas A&M clawed its way back into the contest courtesy of a Mustangs' miscue to plate two runs on a Meghan Brown run-scoring single to right field and a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Bingham then drilled a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence to give Midwestern a little breathing room to lead off the top of the seventh inning. Then the dam broke on Cockrell, who fell to 24-9 on the season allowing 11 runs -- 10 earned -- on nine hits in 6.1 innings.
McKenzie Sickler lofted a single to right field, Nicki Duff reached on an error and Elena Bennett battled for a walk to load the bases for Mooney.
She put it over the left field fence and onto the soccer field some 250 feet away from home plate for her second career grand slam to push the MSU advantage to 8-2.
"Cockrell had been struggling with her command or the zone was tight either one," Tigert said. "She definitely got a little too much of the plate and Mallory took care of it."
The Mustangs tacked on three more runs highlighted by another RBI single by Potysman before Jerrick crushed a solo shot to center field.
Senior ace Brittney Tanner, who was 2 for 3 with two runs at the plate, improved to the 30-8 on the season by limiting West Texas A&M to two unearned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.
Senior utility player Amanda Potysman was 3 for 6 with four RBIs during the two games Saturday.