Ninth-Inning Home Run Lifts Augustana Past Softball 3-2 in Nine Innings
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Pella, Iowa, May 11, 2013 – Laura Behnke connected on a wind-blown home run to right field in the ninth inning to lift No. 6 seed Augustana College past No. 5 seed Washington University in St. Louis 3-2 in nine innings in an elimination game of the 2013 NCAA Division III Softball Championship Saturday in Pella, Iowa.
Washington University ends its season with a 31-14 record, while Augustana improves to 31-13. The Vikings advance to take on No. 4 seed and 12th-ranked Coe College Saturday at 6 p.m. in an elimination game.
“It makes it difficult to play from behind, however, by now we should be used to it. We did not get rattled by it today and played great defense until our bats could get going,” said eighth-year head coach Leticia Pineda-Boutté. “The sign of a great team is to never let down, and that has been our motto all year. Believe in yourself and your teammates, and that’s what they proved to do.”
Freshman starting pitcher Brook Hofer got the start after her two performances out of the bullpen in the first two NCAA Tournament games. She retired six-straight batters after allowing a leadoff hit in the first, but got in some trouble in the fourth.
Augustana’s Christina Pagan and Chaney Tambling each recorded an RBI single in the top of the fourth to make it 2-0 and left the bases loaded in the inning. Hofer got Jenna Teson on a strikeout looking to end the inning.
The Bears finally got the offense going in the fifth, as No. 9 hitter sophomore Paige Biles singled with one out in the fifth. Senior Ashley Janssen moved Biles to second with a sacrifice bunt, and then came around to score on an RBI triple by sophomore Adrienne White. Hofer tied the contest on the ensuing at-bat with an RBI single.
Hofer retired Augustana 1-2-3 in the sixth, and then Washington U. threatened again in the bottom half of the inning. The Bears had runners at second and third with two outs, but Ashley Anderson struck out Janssen to end the inning. Washington U. had another golden opportunity in the seventh after a leadoff double by White, but Anderson retired three-straight to end the inning.
The game remained tied until the ninth wen Behnke sent a pitch from Hofer into the 25 mile-per-hour wind to right field that went over the head of junior Maggie Mullen and off the top of the fence and around the foul pole. The home run for Behnke was her team-leading eighth of the season.
White was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while Biles (2-for-4, two stolen bases, run scored) and Hofer (2-for-4, run scored) each had multiple-hit games. Hofer (4-2) took the loss allowing 11 hits and three earned runs as she tossed the first complete game of her career. She was 1-1 with a 1.38 earned run averaged in 20 1/3 innings pitched in the NCAA Tournament.
“This is the closest team I have ever been apart of and we always come to play each game,” said White. “I really feel like we played well enough to win, but it did not work out for us today.”
ADRIENNE WHITE INTERVIEW
Janssen went 1-for-4 in her final game with the Red and Green, and finished the season with 69 hits, three shy of the WUSTL single-season record. She concludes her four-year career ranked second in school history in batting average (.408) and third in hits (181).
“It’s tough to see our season end this way, however I also reminded the team that not every team has the privilege of playing in postseason. It is an accomplishment and to keep their heads up,” said Pineda-Boutté.
Bear Notebook: Janssen reached base in the final 36 games of the season … Washington U. owns an all-time postseason record of 23-22 (.511) in 11 appearances … The Bears had a .257 batting average and a 2.69 earned run average in the NCAA Tournament … Hofer (.500, 6-for-12) and Janssen (.429, 6-for-14) each hit over .400 in the three games at the Pella Regional … The Class of 2013 – Claire Downs, Ashley Janssen, Sondra Polonsky and Hilary Stepansky – compiled a 128-49-1 (.722) record and made three NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons on the Danforth Campus.