LAS CRUCES, N.M. (May 13) – The Seattle University softball team fell twice to top-seeded New Mexico State in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship Saturday. The Aggies claimed the title with wins of 15-14 and 10-0 in six innings at the NMSU Softball Complex.
"The fight and belief we had in each other all weekend was inspiring," said Coach Geoff Hirai. "We were three outs away from winning this tournament and we'll use that as fuel to propel us over the top next year."
Seattle U (20-32) wrapped up one of its best seasons in program history, including its first-ever appearance in the WAC Championship game. Andie Larkins, Madison Cathcart, Jessica Flanagan, and Maddy Kristjanson were named to the All-Tournament Team for the Redhawks.
The first contest was a wild affair, with the teams combining for 29 runs and 31 hits. SU held a 14-11 lead entering the bottom of the seventh, but NMSU rallied to stave off elimination.
After NM State took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, the Redhawks answered with force. Madison Cathcart walked to lead off and Savannah Loomis doubled down the leftfield line. Maddy Kristjanson followed with a two-run single to left, getting SU on the board. Cherise Silvan then singled, and after Kristjanson stole third, Jessica Flanagan singled to bring in another run. Nicole Bolasky's sacrifice bunt moved the runners over and then Bouska blooped a single into center, driving in two more. Kaylee Ree's single up the middle plated Bouska as Seattle U took a 6-4 advantage.
The Aggies tied it in the bottom of the second, but Maddy Kristjanson hammered an 0-2 pitch over the centerfield wall for a 7-6 edge in the third. NM State came back with five runs in its half of the frame, though, taking an 11-7 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Bouska reached on an error and Ree hit a single to right. A Cathcart walk loaded the bases with no one out. Loomis lashed a double into the left centerfield gap, bringing in two runs. With one out, Silvan's base hit brought in Cathcart. Silvan then stole second and Flanagan hit a single to center, driving in the tying run.
Alyssa Reuble found her groove, holding the Aggies off the board in the fifth. The Redhawk offense was at it again in the top of the sixth, as Kristjanson singled to open the frame. Susanne Morris was hit by a pitch, and then with two outs, Kayla Gonzales pinch hit. The senior drilled an 0-1 pitch out of the park, lifting SU to a 14-11 lead.
Reuble kept the Seattle U momentum going with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth. After a scoreless trip in the seventh, SU looked to close out the contest. Seven Aggies reached base and NMSU scored four runs to force an extra game.
The Redhawks recorded 15 hits, as Kristjanson led the way with a 3-5 showing. She notched three RBIs and three runs. Cathcart went 2-2 with three walks and two runs scored. Ree, Loomis, Silvan, and Flanagan had two hits apiece.
In the winner-take-all final, NM State scored three runs in the top of the first to take control of the game. The pitching took over from there, as Larkins settled, keeping the Aggies scoreless until the sixth. New Mexico State's pitching was stellar, holding the Redhawks in check throughout the contest.
The Aggies struck for seven runs in the sixth frame, extending their lead to 10-0. SU was unable to rally from there, settling for runner-up honors.
Bolasky, Cathcart, Silvan, and Megan Ottino each had a hit for Seattle U.
"I am proud and honored to have coached these seniors," said Hirai. "They bought into our culture wholeheartedly. We will honor their legacy by building on what the mark they left on this program."