From University of Chicago Athletics
In a pair of games that came down to the very last batter, the University of Chicago softball team came up clutch with a pair of wins to remain in contention at the NCAA Regional on Friday.
The No. 25-ranked Maroons (27-9) will now face host Trine University in the regional final at Noon (ET) on Saturday. By virtue of its 2-0 record in the regional, Trine will just need to win one game to advance in the postseason while UChicago will have to win twice in the double-elimination format.
Game One – UChicago 7, Greenville 6
The Maroons seized control of the game early and then held on during Greenville College's rally to win 7-6.
By the middle of the fourth inning, UChicago was ahead by a 5-0 margin. The Maroons had a runner thrown out at home plate trying to advance in the top of the second, but they made up for it two batters later with an RBI single by junior designated player Anna Woolery. Senior first base Kathleen Kohm doubled in a run in the third, and a trio scored in the fourth. With two outs, freshman outfielder Carly Schulz tripled down the left field line to plate two, then scored herself off an error.
Greenville got three back by the end of the fifth inning to draw close. UChicago pulled away again in the sixth when a throwing error and a double made the score 7-3. Senior shortstop Kristin Lopez provided the extra-base hit to left field.
The Maroons would need that four-run cushion when the Panthers rallied back hard in the bottom of the seventh. Back-to-back doubles scored three runs and the tying tally stood on second base with one out. The call was made to bring in sophomore pitcher Molly Moran, and she delivered her second save of the season by inducing an infield pop out and a swinging strikeout to end the game at 7-6.
UChicago recorded 12 hits and one error in the contest. Kohm, freshman outfielder Maeve Garvey and freshman second base Colleen Bennett finished with two hits each. The Maroons also stole three bases.
Senior pitcher Jordan Poole (9-5 record) got the start and the victory over five innings of work. Her pitching line included three runs on six hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Freshman Jordyne Prussak relieved for 1.1 innings with three runs, four hits and two strikeouts. Moran finished off the last 2/3 of an inning with one strikeout.
Game Two – UChicago 1, Wheaton 0
Moran was right back into action in game two, and the Maroons needed every bit of her stellar outing to defeat Wheaton College 1-0. It marked the third time this season that UChicago has defeated Wheaton by a 1-0 score.
UChicago scored only once, but that was enough. As the second batter of the day, Lopez launched a solo home run to left field. She provided two of the team's six hits in the game. The Maroons were also aggressive on the base paths with four steals.
UChicago nearly added to the lead in the second inning, but the lead runner was thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice and two runners were stranded in scoring position. From then on, it was all on Moran's right arm to lead the way. The sophomore silence the Thunder's bats with four hits and four walks in seven innings. She also struck out four batters.
In the final inning, Wheaton led off with a single. But a subsequent bunt was popped up to the catcher and a double-play lineout closed out the victory. Moran (9-4) pitched her fourth shutout to give UChicago 11 shutouts on the season.