CHICAGO, ILL. - The top two seeds are set to collide for the Horizon League Championship after Youngstown State edged Detroit Mercy on a late two-run home run to set up a rematch of Game 9 between UIC and Youngstown State.
No. 5 Detroit Mercy: 8, No. 3 Valparaiso: 0 F/5
CHICAGO, ILL – Detroit Mercy run-ruled Valparaiso 8-0 to advance to Game 9 and play the losing team from Game 8.
The Titans didn’t miss a beat from yesterday jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Courtney Gilbert started the scoring with a double into right center field that drove home Jordan Manno. The next two runs of the inning were scored on sacrifices to extend the lead.
After tacking on another run in the third inning, Ellie Boteler came to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth and hit a grand slam push the lead to 8-0. From there, Detroit Mercy’s Liz Murphy closed the game out in the bottom half of the inning to clinch the victory for the Titans. Murphy pitched all five innings, striking out three hitters for the Titans to earn her second win in the championship.
Valparaiso ends the season with an overall record of 28-23. The Crusaders will lose three seniors in Taylor Lawson, Jorgi Calombaris and Sam Stewart who helped clinch the Horizon League Tournament Title just a year ago.
Detroit Mercy will move on after winning their third game of the tournament. The Titans haven’t won three games in the Horizon League Softball Championship since 1998 and will look to add their fourth victory later today.
No. 1 UIC: 6, No. 2 Youngstown State: 3
CHICAGO, ILL. – UIC earned the first spot in the championship game by knocking off Youngstown State 6-3 in Game 8 of the Horizon League Softball Championship.
The Flames opened the game with three runs in the bottom of the first with Tiana Mack-Miller’s home run to right-center field being the highlight of the inning. UIC extended the lead in the third inning with a Jennah Speth triple bringing home a run. Shortly thereafter, Speth crossed home plate courtesy of Kaleigh Nagle’s single to left field to enlarge the lead to five runs. Nagle wasn’t done on the day producing another RBI single in the fifth inning to make it a 6-1 UIC advantage at the time.
Elaine Heflin started for the Flames pitching three innings while striking out six batters. It was Karissa Frazier who picked up the win throwing the final four innings to finish off the Penguins.
Youngstown State had two opportunities to put runs on the board early by loading the bases in the first and second innings with just one out. Unfortunately for the Penguins, Heflin worked her way out of both jams and didn’t allow a run in either inning.
The Penguins will play Detroit Mercy in an elimination game with the winner to take on UIC in the championship game.
No. 2 Youngstown State: 3, No. 5 Detroit Mercy: 2
CHICAGO, ILL. – Youngstown State’s all-time home run leader Sarah Dowd showed her power when the team needed it the most with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to win the game for the Penguins.
The pitchers on both teams played well with Youngstown State only allowing six hits and Detroit Mercy giving up just five hits for the game. Youngstown State’s Cali Mikovich got the Penguins on the board first with an RBI single up the middle to score the first run.
Detroit Mercy, as they have the whole championship, didn’t back down and rallied in the top of the sixth with Laura Villagrana smashing a double into the gap to score the tying run. Two batters later, Savvy Ferstle placed a perfect bunt down the first base line to give Detroit Mercy the go-ahead score.
Youngstown State’s Sarah Dowd didn’t waste any time putting the Penguins back in front taking the first pitch she saw out of the yard. The Titans comeback attempt to fell short after being unable to capitalize on a double to start out the seventh inning. Maddi Lusk picked up the win for the Penguins after coming on in relief for starting pitcher, Paige Geanangel.
Youngstown State will be pitted against UIC in a rematch of their game earlier today. The Penguins will look to take two games from the Flames to win the championship.
Youngstown State at UIC - 1:00pm ET
Youngstown State at UIC - 3:30pm ET *If necessary