WAC TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (May 12) – Seattle University softball scored four runs in the fifth inning, rallying past top-seeded New Mexico State, 6-4, to propel into the first Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship game in program history. The Redhawks will play for the conference's NCAA automatic bid on Saturday afternoon at the New Mexico State Softball Complex.
"Fight is what we have done all year," said Coach Geoff Hirai. "We showed that today. We're in position to win this tournament and that's all you can ask for."
Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, SU (20-30) turned the game around and sent itself into tomorrow's finals. Jessica Flanagan hammered a double to left on the first pitch of the inning and then Nicole Bolasky reached on a bunt single. With Paige Bouska at the plate, Bolasky stole second. Bouska beat out a grounder to second, driving in Flanagan to tie the game at 3. The senior then stole second to put runners at second and third for Kaylee Ree. The Redhawk second baseman lined a double to right field, plating two runs for a 5-3 margin. After a Madison Cathcart walk, Savannah Loomis lifted a sac fly to left, scoring Ree.
Armed with a three-run lead, Andie Larkins went out for the top of the sixth. NM State hit a pair of singles around a groundout, placing runners at second and third with one out for the WAC Player of the Year, Kelsey Horton. Larkins held Horton to a sac fly, making it 6-4. SU earned a groundout to close the inning.
Larkins cruised through the seventh, getting two groundballs and then a swinging strikeout to close the win.
Larkins threw her second complete game in two days. The sophomore allowed 11 hits, but stranded nine Aggies to claim the victory. Eight different Redhawks had one hit in the win.
In the bottom of the second, Cathcart walked to lead off the frame. Loomis then singled through the right side. Maddy Kristjanson placed a bunt in a hole in the infield, loading the bases with no one out. A Cherise Silvan sacrifice fly brought in Cathcart to give SU a 1-0 lead. NM State got out of the jam without further damage, though.
Larkins worked around baserunners in the first two innings, but the Aggies got on the board with a run to tie it in the top of the third. They took a 2-1 edge with a score in the fourth, but Cathcart's double down the left field line set up the Redhawks to tie the contest. Kayla Gonzales came on to run for Cathcart and advanced on a passed ball. Silvan then dueled with Kayla Green, working through a 10-pitch at-bat and eventually singling through the left side. Gonzales came in to tie the score at 2 through four frames.
Seattle U advanced to the tournament semifinals in 2016, but this marks its first appearance in the WAC Championship game. It will have two opportunities to win one game Saturday, due to the tournament's double-elimination format.