Pella, Iowa, May 12, 2017 – The Washington University in St. Louis softball team fell short in a 2-1 defeat to No. 25-ranked Coe College in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Championship Friday in Pella, Iowa.
Coe improved to 30-9 with the win, while WashU dropped to 26-13. The Bears take on No. 9 Central College (Iowa) Saturday in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. The Dutch sufffered a 10-2 five-inning loss to No. 23 University of St. Thomas in the opener.
"I am really proud of our team. We left everything on the field today," said first-year head coach Michelle Venturella. "This teams always fights, and that is the mark of a good team."
Junior Anna McKee (16-4) tossed a complete game allowing four hits and two earned runs. She struck out three and walked one.
The Bears were limited to five hits in the loss. Senior Janet Taylor was 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored, and had the lone extra-base hit for the Bears.
The teams combined for just three hits in the opening four innings, but it was Coe who scored first in the bottom of the fifth after a safety squeeze by Paige Wieland with one out. The Kohawks added a run in the sixth on a sac fly by Haley Jones.
Trailing 2-0, the Bears did not go down without a fight. Taylor led off the top of the seventh with a double to left, and then junior Hera Tang singled to move Taylor to third. She would come around to score on a double steal with freshman Amy Walsh.
Junior pinch-hitter Maggie Clapp singled to center to move Walsh to third, but Coe's Alyssa Olson got a pair of strikeouts to end the game.
"I just knew I had to start the inning off strong so could get the momentum going," said Taylor. "Initially at the plate there was some nerves for everyone. We settled in, we took the approach, and by the seventh inning we had the momentum going. I think we take that right into tomorrow and start strong."
BEAR NOTEBOOK: Coe leads the all-time series 8-7 … The double for Taylor was the 26th of her career … WashU is 3-9 when the opponent scores first … The Bears are 25-28 (.472) all-time in 15 trips to the NCAA Tournament ... The Bears are 3-3 this season against ranked teams.