PHOENIX – Carley Nance of Seattle University softball hit a walk-off grand slam to cap an 8-7 comeback win over New Mexico State Friday, as the Redhawks advanced to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Championship Game at Grand Canyon University.
NM State grabbed a 4-0 lead early and held a 7-4 advantage going into the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Madison Cathcart drew a walk. Bailey Thompson and Kaylee Ree followed with singles to load the bases for Nance. Working an eight-pitch at-bat to a full count, Nance drilled a flyball to right center, with the blast clearing the fence and sending the Redhawks into pandemonium at home plate.
With the win, Seattle U heads to its second WAC Championship Game in three seasons. It will face New Mexico State, Grand Canyon, or CSU Bakersfield on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. SU will have two chances to win one game to claim the WAC Tournament crown.
Seattle U tied its single-season record for wins with 38 in 2019. The 2008 Redhawks also won 38 games. Nance tallied her second straight walk-off hit, as she doubled to win the game against Kansas City Thursday. SU has won seven straight outings, winning each of the last five in walk-off fashion.
Shianne Smith pitched 2.2 innings of relief, holding the Aggies to one run and striking out four batters. She picked her ninth win of the season. Nance, Thompson, and Cherise Silvan had two hits apiece to spark the offense.
The Aggies hit two home runs on their way to four runs in the top of the second. Larkins settled down after that, keeping NM State off the board in the third and fourth.
In the bottom of the third, Silvan slammed a triple to center to set up a run. Breanna Timmons followed with a deep flyout to center, driving in Silvan for SU’s first run. The Redhawks loaded the bases in the fourth, with Timmons coming through with another sacrifice fly. Silvan then singled with the bases loaded to bring in a run in the fourth, making it 4-3 after four frames.
NMSU scored two in the top of the fifth, but Silvan was at the center of another rally in the sixth. She reached on an error and then when a pickoff attempt went into right field, the junior hustled all the way to third base, sliding in safely. She scored on an Alyson Matriotti groundball to pull SU within 6-4.
Kelsey Horton hit her second homer of the day to make it 7-4, but Smith earned a key strikeout to close the inning and send SU to bat.