Umhoefer completes Mankato rally
Mavericks reach DII championship for first time since 1987
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Amanda Umhoefer's tiebreaking solo home run in the top of the eighth inning propelled 14th-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato (53-14) to a 5-4 victory against No. 7 Augustana (50-11) to advance to the NCAA Division II Finals in Salem, Va.
The Mavs will make the trip to the NCAA Finals for the second in school history. The last time MSU made the trip was in 1987, when it took third place.
Facing a 3-1 deficit headed into the top of the seventh, Mankato scored three runs to take the lead.
Umhoefer singled down the third base line on the first pitch to start the seventh. Melanie Upchurch singled up the middle to put to runner’s on first and second base before Lauryn Morris laid a sacrifice bunt down the third baseline to advance the runners a base.
Natalie Spicer then doubled inside the third baseline, tying the game 3-3 as Umhoefer and Upchurch scored. Eryn Edgerton pinch ran for Spicer and would later cross the plate on a Lindsay Erickson single to right field, putting the Mavericks up 4-3.
Augustana clawed its way back into the game in the bottom of the seventh as Elizabeth Murray hit a one-out double down the left field. Clean up hitter Tracy Fransen flied out to right for the second out before Lindsay Spanton walked to put runners on first and second. Kelsey Kalkman hit a screamer down the third base line that bounced off Julie O’Neal’s glove and would score Murray from second. With runners on the corners and two outs, Abby Sonner completed a routine groundball to finish the inning.
This would all lead to Umhoefer's eventual game-winner. Minnesota State regained the lead as Umhoefer turned on a pitch and went yard for her sixth home run of the season.
Maverick starter Courtney Mckelvogue pitched seven innings for her 22nd win of the season, giving up four runs, none of which was earned. She allowed seven hits to go along with four strikeouts.
Kendra Huettl earned her third save of the season as she pitched the eighth inning to close out the 5-4 MSU win.
Augustana jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning after Jenny Brown reached on an error. After a single put runners on the corners, Lindsay Spanton hammered a home run off the top bar of the fence in straight-away center field to put the Vikings up 3-0.
Augustana carried the lead into the fifth when Sonner singled up the middle to start the inning. Sonner then advanced to second on a Melanie Upchurchground ball to the right side of the infield and then scored as the Viking first baseman made an error on a Lauryn Morris groundball, cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Ashley Meyer pitched eight innings for Augustana, giving up ten hits and five runs. Spanton led the Vikings offense, going 1-for-2 with the home run and three RBIs.
Erickson went 3-for-4 and Umhoefer went 2-for-4 with two runs in the win.
Mankato will face Saginaw Valley – the winner of the Midwest Region – in the first round of the Finals.