May 22, 2010

*Courtesy of Illinois State Athletics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Wright State softball team picked up its second-ever NCAA tournament victory as the Raiders closed their season with a split Saturday at the NCAA Regionals in Ann Arbor, Michigan, rallying for a 10-8 win over Illinois State before seeing another rally fall just short in a 6-5 setback to Notre Dame.

Illinois State dominated the early going as the Redbirds scored three times in both the first and third to take a 6-1 lead. The lone Raider run came in the second as Justine Shilt was hit by a pitch, moved up to second on a Jamie Perkins bunt and came in on a Mollie Berry double to left center.

WSU closed the margin to 6-4 with three in the bottom of the third. Briauna Birl led off with a hit, stole second and scored on a Kristen Bradshaw double to left. Bradshaw was retired at third on a grounder off the bat of Louie Haney, but Haney stole second, went to third on a China Frost single and scored as Shilt reached on an error on a squeeze bunt. The Raiders tallied the final run as Perkins had a sacrifice fly to left to plate Frost.

Illinois State made it 7-4 with a run in the fifth, only to see Wright State tie it in the bottom of the frame. With one out and Shilt on first, Perkins walked and Berry had an infield single to load the bases. Allison Cox singled in the first run and Katie Kine followed with a two-run hit to right to tie the game.

The Raiders then went in front to stay with three more in the sixth, an inning that started with the first two batters being retired. Perkins had a hit through the left side, stole second and scored on Berry's hit to center. Cox followed with a two-run home run to left, her fourth of the season, to make it 10-7.

The Redbirds tallied a run in the seventh, but Sharon Palma (9-11) held on for the victory as she induced the final batter to pop out to Bradshaw at shortstop.

The win was the second-ever NCAA Tournament in program history, with the first being a 3-1 decison over Missouri on May 16, 2003, also at Michigan's Alumni Field. It is also the third NCAA Division I tournament win for Wright State overall as the other was a baseball 14-12 win over North Carolina State on May 27, 1994 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Berry and Cox each had three hits to lead the WSU offense, with Cox driving in three and Berry two. Birl had two hits.

Frost, Berry and Birl each had two hits for the Raiders, who finished with a .341 team batting average in the three tournament games, scoring 17 runs.

Wright State (31-30-1) recorded 30 or more wins for the fifth time in school history (1999, 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010) and set single-season records for games played (62), at bats (1744), hits (538), walks (148) and stolen bases (150).