SALEM, Va. -- DePauw junior Haley Buchanan's solo homer in the top of the 10th was the difference as the 16th-ranked Tigers advanced in the NCAA Division III Softball Finals winner's bracket with a 2-1 win over 11th-ranked Messiah.
The Tigers improved to 32-9-1 and face the winner of tonight's Eastern Connecticut State-Christopher Newport game at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Falcons dropped to 39-6 and face the loser of tonight's final game at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The teams battled through seven scoreless innings with the best scoring opportunity coming for DePauw in the sixth when Emma Minx led off with a double and was called out at the plate while trying to score on Holly Paris' single.
DePauw took a 1-0 lead when senior second baseman Emma Minx hit a solo homer to left in the top of the eighth inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead over Messiah.
The Falcons countered that in the bottom of the eighth as Ashley Lehman singled and moved to second on Abi Buchler's sacrifice bunt. Jacklyn Merkel followed with a double which scored Lehman and knotted the score at 1-1.
DePauw totaled 14 hits with at least one in each inning including six to lead off innings. Rachel MacBeth and Minx each had three, while Buchanan and Paris added two each. Messiah finished with six led by Lehman, Merkel and Sara Seneca with two each.
Emily Bichler, the second winningest pitcher in Division III this year, improved to 30-9 after allowing just six hits and one walk in 10 innings. Jocelyn Hickey dropped to 13-3 with the loss in relief.