SALEM, Va. – The magical run that the West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcats were on came to a disappointing end tonight as they dropped a 5-2 decision to Minnesota State-Mankato in Game 12 of the 2017 NCAA Division II World Series at Moyer Sports Complex.
The wear and tear of yesterday's 12-inning affair and today's earlier game didn't seem to effect the Lady Bobcats, but they were never able to figure out MSU-Mankato pitcher Coley Ries and her change-up, who improved her record to 39-3. Ries was recently named the NFCA Player of the Year.
Ries allowed five hits and struck out eight.
"We just kind of stopped hitting in this game and was popping a lot of stuff up," remarked head coach Steve Warner. "I thought we had a pretty good game plan and that was to stay off the rising ball and we did that early in the game. After we started jumping on some first-pitch strikes, they started mixing in the change-up. We started guessing, and when you do that, it's easy to guess wrong. Our luck just ran out today."
MSU-Mankato tied the game in the top of the second when Alyssa Rickels singled to right field scoring Dana Mogren.
They scored their go-ahead run in the top of the third.
Amber Kral struck out swinging, but Jess Meidl stole third and scored on a throwing error on the stolen base attempt.
Ries took over as she retired eight straight Wesleyan batters starting in the fourth inning.
A two-run home run by Ashley Thell and a one-run double by Samantha Buhmann in the top of the seventh for MSU-Mankato provided a cushion making it a 5-1 game.
Sayaka Foley (18-5) gave a determined effort in the circle but suffered the loss.
She went 6 1/3 innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on 11 hits while striking out three.
"Foley pitched well," stated Warner.
Hannah Vet pitched the final out of the game.
Wesleyan ended the year with a 51-10 record.
"This group has exceeded all expectations," concluded Warner. "They set a goal at the beginning of the year to win the Mountain East Conference and we did that, then we wanted to host regionals, and we did that, then we wanted to win the Super Regional and we did that. Our last goal was to make it to the World Series and here we are. Being here was an incredible experience for us."
MSU-Mankato (62-7) will now advance to a best-of-three series with Angelo State (60-5) to determine the NCAA DII Champion.
Their first game will start at 5 p.m. Sunday.