Salem, Va. --- Minnesota State junior second baseman Amanda Umhoefer hit a solo home run over the left field fence in the top of the seventh inning to break a one-all tie to propel Minnesota State into a 2-1 victory against Saginaw Valley State in the opening game of the 2011 NCAA Championships.

For Umhoefer, who is affectionately called “Shorty” by her teammates,” it marked her 18th career home-run and seventh of the season. It also marked the second consecutive game that she has blasted a homerun as the go-ahead run in the team’s final at bat. The home run was the 57th hit by a Maverick this season, a total which ties the 2010 team for the school record.

"It's been a long year for me at the plate," said Umhoefer following the game. "I just wanted to put the ball in play."

The Cardinals struck first in the bottom of the second inning as first baseman Monica Gathright hit a one-out single down the rightfield line. A groundout off the bat of Kalie Burdick moved Gathright to second where she was replaced by pinch runner Samantha Sutton.

Sutton would come around to score on a single to centerfield off the bat Kailah Happ to give the Cardinals a 1-0 victory.

MSU picked up its third hit of the game in the top of the fifth as junior centerfielder Chelsea Erickson drove a single to left-centerfield before being replaced at first base by sophomore pinch-runner Chelsea Krull.

Krull moved to second when sophomore shortstop Abby Sonner singled through the left side as had a runner in scoring position for the first time all game.

Saginaw Valley pitcher Jade Fulton would strike out Umhoefer to record the second out. Krull and Sonner would move up a base however as Burdick – the SVSU catcher – would try to pick-off Sonner at first base, throwing the ball into rightfield. Fulton worked out of the jam, as she would strikeout junior rightfielder Melanie Upchurch to end the inning and the Maverick threat.

Burdick walked to start the bottom of the fifth and was pinch ran for by Tori Taylor. Taylor’s stay was short as she was gunned out at second as she tried to steal by freshman catcher Lindsay Erickson. Minnesota State junior right hander Courtney McKelvogue would record a strikeout before giving up a two-out single to Jessica McKeith. McKelvogue then used a flyball to get out the inning without any damage.

Spicer would reach on an error by GVSU third baseman Marcy Medina before being replaced by sophomore pinch runner Eryn Edgerton.

Lindsay Erickson popped up to shallow rightfield for the second out before freshman designated player Kelly Wood singled to leftfield, scoring Edgerton and tying the game at one.

Sutton would strikeout Chelsea Erickson to end the bleeding and send the game into the bottom of the sixth tied at one.

Umhoefer’s heroics in the top of the seventh would seal the win as McKelvogue would retire the side.

McKelvogue went the distance to earn the win, her 23rd of the year while scattering four hits and striking out four. Wood led MSU at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort, driving in a run.

Fulton absorbed the loss for Saginaw Valley as she allowed six hits and two runs – one earned – while striking out eight.

With the win, MSU improves to 54-14 on the season.