SEASIDE, Calif. - The No. 8 seed Western Washington University softball team scored four runs over the final two innings to upset No. 1 seed Cal State Monterey Bay 5-3 to open the NCAA Division II West Regional on Thursday afternoon at Otter Sports Complex.
The late-inning comeback featured a three-run top of the 7th inning, highlighted by a game-tying 11-pitch bases loaded walk by senior Kali Patterson (Bonney Lake, WA) and a two-run single by freshman shortstop Paityn Cyr (Mount Vernon, WA) to plate the eventual game-winning run.
Freshman starting pitcher Anna Kasner (Milton, WA/Fife) allowed a three-run home run in the first inning, but was otherwise masterful scattering 5 hits and striking out 9 in the complete-game victory to improve to 16-5 on the season.
"There is no quit in this team...they've shown that all season and once again they didn't get down and just kept creating opportunities," said head coach Amy Suiter. "Big at-bats down the stretch, especially by KP (Kali Patterson) and Paityn (Cyr), and what a great performance by Anna Kasner. I am very proud of the team and we can't wait to get back out there tomorrow."
WWU advances to the winners bracket of the four-team regional and will face No. 4 seed and No. 23 nationally-ranked Dixie State at 11 am Friday. CSUMB, ranked No. 5 nationally, drops to 43-12 overall and will face No. 5 seed Sonoma State in an elimination game at 1:30 pm.
With the victory the Vikings (34-17) extended their winning streak to 12 consecutive games, the second-longest active streak in NCAA Division II and tied for the second-longest in program history.
The Vikings trailed 3-1 heading into their final two at-bats, but pushed a run across in the 6th inning to cut the deficit to one run and then plated three runs in the top of the 7th inning take the lead.
The 7th-inning rally started with a one-out double to left field by third baseman Makinlee Sellevold (Everett, WA/Cascade). Cleanup hitter Emily Benson (West Richland, WA/Kamiakin) followed with an intentional walk, but Kasner popped out to shortstop for the second out of the inning. Right fielder Carlie Richards (Kennewick, WA/Kamiakin) was hit by a pitch (her school-record 12th HBP) to load the bases with two outs. Patterson was down in the count 0-2, but fouled off 5 pitches from CSUMB starter Hayley Fein and ultimately drew the 11-pitch walk to force home the game-tying run. Cyr then ripped the first pitch she saw up the middle to bring home a pair of runs to stake the Vikings to a 5-3 lead.
The Otters put a pair of runners in scoring position in the bottom of the 7th inning, but Kasner closed the door by striking out second baseman Courtney Hennings for the final out of the game stranding the tying run at second base.
WWU took the early 1-0 lead on a two-out run-scoring single by Kasner in the top of the 1st inning. Designated player Shearyna Labasan (Mililani, HI/Maryknoll) led off the game with a single to right field, moved into scoring position on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch, and then scored on Kasner's sharp single to center field.
The Otters wasted little time answering scoring three runs in the bottom half of the first inning. A hit and error put a pair of runners on base for NFCA Player of the Year candidate Julia Garcia, who hit an opposite-field three-run home run to right-center, her 15th homer of the season.
The Vikings had a good scoring opportunity in the top of the 3rd inning, putting a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs, but CSUMB escaped on a strikeout and a pair of groundouts to the pitcher to keep the game at 3-1. WWU again stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the 4th inning.
Western cut the deficit to one run in the top of the 6th inning on a two-out RBI double by center fielder McKenna Mathis (Mesa, WA/Connell). Patterson drew a two-out walk, moved to second base on a single by Cyr, and scored on the blooper by Mathis to left field that bounced away from the fielder for the run-scoring double to cut the CSUMB lead to 3-2.
The Vikings out-hit the Otters 8-5 and were led by multi-hit games from Labasan (2-for-4, R, SB) and Cyr (2-for-3, 2 RBI, SH). Kasner remains undefeated over her last 10 starts (9-0 record) with her 16th complete-game of the season. After the three-run first inning, Kasner allowed only 3 hits and 5 total base runners (3 H, BB, HBP) over the final 6.0 innings.
Fein took the complete-game loss for the Otters allowing 8 hits and 5 runs in 7.0 innings. The second-team NFCA All-West Region selection walked a season-high 6 batters, while recording 3 strikeouts.
Western Washington 5, Cal State Monterey Bay 3 (May 11, 2017 at Seaside, CA) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Western Washington.. 100 001 3 - 5 8 1 (34-17) CSU Monterey Bay.... 300 000 0 - 3 5 0 (43-12) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Western Washington - Kasner and Hughes CSU Monterey Bay - Fein and Standley; Aguilar (4) Win-Kasner (16-5) Loss-Fein (29-11) T-2:24 A-224 HR CSUMB - Garcia (15) Weather: Sunny, 63-degrees
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