SALEM, Va. -- After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the third inning, Southeastern clawed back during the final five innings and had the tying run on second in the bottom of the seventh, but was unable to bring her home, falling 3-2 to Dixie State in the opening game of the NCAA Division II National Finals.
The loss drops the Savage Storm to 43-19 on the season and sends them to the loser's bracket where they will face Wayne State (Mich.) in an elimination game at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Despite suffering the loss, Mindy McElroy tossed a great 6.2 innings and allowed three unearned runs on seven hits with one strikeout.
Both teams were slow out of the gate, with each side going down in order in the first and each collecting a hit but not scoring in the second.
The Red Storm scored all its runs in the third inning, taking advantage of an SE error with one out that was followed by a single.Two batters later Courtney Sherwin connected on a three run home run to put DSC up 3-0.
SE would load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the third and Kramer would drive in McElroy to cut into the deficit and make the score 3-1.
The Storm threatened again in the bottom of the fourth but could not plate a run, and was unable to get any momentum in the fifth or sixth innings.
Meanwhile the Storm pitching and defense kept Dixie State from threatening as well until the seventh inning when DSC would load the bases only to have Milam come on and strikeout Sheila Gelter to end the threat.
Arianna Jones would reach on a fielding error to open the bottom of the seventh and move to second when McElroy flew out to right field.
After Lauren Renneker drew a walk and was replaced on the base paths by Rachel Jones, Simmons first hit of the day would load the bases with one out.
Cook would then reach on a fielder's choice that score Arianna Jones, but a diving snag by the shortstop allowed her to make a play at third for the second out.
Kramer would then groundout to second to end SE's rally bid.