Top-seed Tigers win opening game of NCAA Softball Regional
DECATUR, Ill. - A three-run fourth inning was the difference for top-seed DePauw as it defeated sixth-seed Mount St. Joseph in the opening game of the Decatur, Ill., Regional in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship.
The top-ranked Tigers moved to 35-2 with their 19th straight win, while Mount St. Joseph dropped to 30-9 as its 17-game win streak came to an end. The Tigers return to action tomorrow at 10 a.m. CDT to face the loser of today’s second game between third-seed Millkin and fourth-seed Belhaven.
The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the second as Casey Bramble led off with a double, moved to second on Maiah Hodge’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Gracie Woodyard’s sacrifice fly.
The score remained that way until the bottom of the fourth when Drew Bratcher led off with a single and pinch-runner Olivia Jackson advanced to second when Becca St. Germain singled. Paige Price then laid down a bunt toward third and a throwing error on the play allowed both runs to score and Price to advance to second, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Kate Geary followed with a sacrifice bunt before Jade Mejia Wick made it 3-1 with a single to right.
Only one Mount St. Joseph player reached base over the final three innings against DePauw starter Cami Henry as she retired the final seven batters of the game.
Bratcher had two of DePauw’s four hits as she also had a first-inning single. Bramble had Mount St. Joseph’s only two hits of the contest.
Henry improved to 19-0 in the circle and struck out eight with just a first-inning walk. Sarah Miller dropped to 16-4 with the loss.
“It’s about executing at the right time when those moments come up and not panicking,” DePauw Head Coach Erica Hanrahan said. “And we’ve got a great pitcher to not let the score get out of control.”