BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Senior Sara Daley drove home junior Hannah Bowen with the winning run in a 3-2 Illinois Wesleyan victory as the Titans took the NCAA Regional championship from Lake Forest at IWU Field on Sunday.
With a school record 21 consecutive wins, the Titans improved to 40-5 and will play Wisconsin-Whitewater (35-10) in the best two-of-three Super Regional May 16-17 at a site to be announced Sunday. The Warhawks needed to win two games over Benedictine on Sunday and did by scores of 5-2 and 7-4.
In regular season play, IWU defeated Wis.-Whitewater 3-0 and 10-2 at IWU on April 16.
The 40 wins is a new season record for Illinois Wesleyan, topping the 39 wins in 2001 (39-14) and 2012 (39-8).
Bowen was named to the all-regional team and was chosen as the most outstanding player." She was joined on the all-regional team by senior Sara Rogers, sophomore pitcher Jenna Noland, senior pitcher Molly McCready, and sophomore centerfielder Kyley McKeown.
Both teams got five hits and the game was scoreless until the final inning. In the top of the seventh, Kaleigh Ambrose led off with a home run to left field. Tara Airola walked and went to second on a single by Vasi Panos. With two outs, Kayla Borgra doubled to right center to score Airola but Panos was out at home trying to score.
Trailing 2-0, Illinois Wesleyan never made an out in the seventh. IWU got a leadoff single by McKeown and a home run by Rogers over the centerfield wall. Bowen then doubled to right center and game home with the game-winner on Daley's single.
Noland (13-3) picked up her second win over Lake Forest this weekend, throwing seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and four walks.
The Foresters' Jessi Werner (14-8) took the loss in the circle, pitching six innings and allowing three runs on five hits with five walks and two strikeouts.