BUCKHANNON – The seventh-ranked West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcat softball team had to rally late from a 2-0 deficit to win a 5-2 decision in eight innings over the Kutztown (Pa.) Golden Bears in the winner's bracket of the NCAA DII Atlantic Regional Tournament at Culpepper Field.
The win put Wesleyan in the championship game against either Kutztown or Charleston tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.
The Kutztown-Charleston loser's bracket elimination game was slated for this evening but was wiped out by the rain.
They will now play at noon to see who has the right to face Wesleyan in the championship. Either team would have to defeat the Lady Bobcats twice for the championship.
In today's outing with Kutztown, the Golden Bears were the home team because they won a coin flip prior to the game.
Sayaka Foley was rolling along in the circle for the Lady Bobcats in a scoreless game until the bottom of the fourth when she gave up a solo home run to Gabby Tarella.
Taylor Knappenberge went deep in the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot to give Kutztown a 2-0 lead.
Wesleyan finally dented the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pair of runs to deadlock the game at 2-2.
Brooklyn Waddell smashed a ball over the left field fence to make it a 2-1 contest.
Wesleyan's offense awoke in the top of the eighth as they scored three runs on four hits.
Morgan Bruce hit a one-run single to center field that scored pinch runner Marilyn Maas, Brittani Bible (pictured) cracked a one-run double that plated pinch runner Makayla McElwayne and Tori Pogue doubled to left field scoring Krista Waggoner for the three runs.
Hannah Vet stepped into the circle in a relief role in the bottom of the fifth as she kept the Golden Bears off the scoreboard for the win.
She allowed just two hits and walked one while striking out five in 3 2/3 innings of work. She upped her record to 24-3.
Foley pitched well getting the start but earned a no-decision.
She went 4 1/3 innings and allowed just two earned runs on three hits while striking out four.
Wesleyan collected 12 hits in the game with Bruce going a perfect three-for-three at the plate while Pogue and Rodriguez each had two hits.
The victory gave head coach Steve Warner and his Lady Bobcats a 46-7 record heading into tomorrow's championship game.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Game 1 – Kutztown 2, Bloomsburg 1
Game 2 – West Virginia Wesleyan 5, Charleston 0
Friday, May 12, 2017
Game 3 – West Virginia Wesleyan 5, Kutztown 2
Game 4 – Charleston 5, Bloomsburg 3 (Bloomsburg eliminated)
(Photo courtesy of Peter Galarneau Jr.)