SJC gets leg up in Super Regional
Pumas one game from championship finals with road win at NKU
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The second time through the order lifted Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) to a 2-1 upset victory against Northern Kentucky in the opening game of Midwest Super Regional. SJC manufactured two runs in the top of the fourth and, behind its pitching and defense, took the edge in the three-game series.
The Norse (38-20) put runners on first and second in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of two-out hits. NKU managed to load the bases in the frame, but the lone came off a failed pick-off play. Megan Ramey pitched-out of the jam and started to put up a line of zeros on the Frank Ignatius Grein Softball Field scoreboard.
As the top of the fourth rolled around, the Pumas (38-19) were back to the top of the order. Amy Varner led the inning off with a single through the right side and advanced to second after Kylie Weeks successfully executed a sacrifice bunt. Stephanie Winter tied the game with a RBI double into left centerfield. Winter moved to third on a pass ball when Shawn Hoskins gave SJC a 2-1 edge with a single into left field.
The pitchers continued to battle as the defense provided quick innings.
The Pumas looked to add to their lead in the seventh as the heart of the order came to the plate. With runners on first and second with one-out, Audra Rains connected with a solid single into rightfield. Pinch-runner Hillary Banks looked to slide in under the tag, but was recorded as the second out of the inning. Emily Schwaeble got Rachel Weaver to ground-out to end the threat.
NKU had the top of the order due up in the bottom half as SJC turned to Sarah Franklin to close-out the game. Jessica Farris led off the inning with a bunt single, giving two of the most dangerous hitters in the Great Lakes Valley Conference a chance to do some damage. Franklin got both Kaylin Steinmetz and Schwaeble to strikeout swinging, then Mandi McQueen popped-out to Varner to end the game.