Hofer

PELLA, Iowa -- Freshman Brooke Hofer went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and picked up the win in relief, allowing one earned run in 5.2 innings pitched as the Washington (Mo.) topped Coe 7-6 in 10 innings on Thursday in the opening game of the 2013 NCAA Division III Softball Regional.

Fifth-seeded Washington improved to 31-12 and advanced to the second round to take on top-seeded St. Thomas (Minn.) on Friday. No. 4-seed Coe dropped to 32-7 and will take on No. 8-seed Bethany Lutheran on Friday in an elimination game.

“It was a tough game and nice to come out and get a first-round victory. We got the first-game jitters out of the way and hopefully our team will settle down,” eighth-year head coach Leticia Pineda-Boutté said. “We had timely hitting [Thursday], especially in the 10th inning.”

Tied at four in the 10th inning, Hofer drove in two runs with a two-out RBI single to center to give Washington the 6-4 lead. Senior Ashley Janssen followed with an RBI single to drive in the eventual game-winning run. Janssen finished the day 4-for-7 with two runs scored and an RBI and moved into fourth on the all-time hits list with 179.

“All of my hits are about visualizing. I go up to the plate knowing where I am going to hit the ball. That hit in the 10th felt great.” Janssen said. “This win was a team effort, and it’s the best game we have played all year. It feels great to do that at regionals.”

Hofer (4-1) pitched 5.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing three hits and four runs (one earned run). Freshman Annie Pitkin made the start for Washington and pitched 4.1 innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs. Pitkin recorded the final out of the game to earn her second save of the year after Janssen made a sliding catch with the tying run at second base.

Senior Sondra Polonsky was 3-for-3 with three walks and reached base six times, while junior Kelsey Neal (2-for-6, RBI) and sophomore Adrienne White (2-for-6, RBI, run scored) added multiple-hit games.

Washington had a season-high 17 hits in the win, but committed six errors. The Bears also left 19 runners on base, one shy of the NCAA Division III record of 20.

Coe scored two runs in the first inning to jump out in front 2-0 after a two-RBI double by Morgan Louck to left center. Pitkin walked Brianna Hull to lead off the inning and then Callie Morningstar reached on an error by Pitkin.

Washington cut the lead in half after an RBI single by Neal to left field in the top of the fifth inning. The RBI for Neal was the 100th of her career and she is now the seventh player in school history to achieve the feat. Junior Stacy Berg followed with a two-RBI single to left center to give the Bears their first lead of the game.

Coe tied the game with a run in the fifth, but White’s two-out RBI single to left in the top of the sixth got the lead back for Washington. The game score remained 4-3 in favor of the Bears until the bottom of the seventh, when Hull scored on a passed ball with two outs to send the game to extra innings.