ST. PAUL, Minn. – In the longest game in the 16-year history of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Softball Playoffs, the University of St. Thomas outlasted Hamline University for a 1-0 win in the championship game on Sunday, securing the Tommies a spot in the 2019 NCAA Softball Tournament.
The two teams went scoreless for 10-and-a-half innings before Marina O'Leary slid into home plate on a squeeze play in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give the Tommies a dramatic victory on their home field. UST pitcher Kierstin Anderson-Glass was masterful in the circle, going 11 shutout innings with four strikeouts against five hits with four walks allowed. KAG went the distance in all three of the Toms' postseason games, going 3-0 without a run scored in 25 innings of work.
Alex Molloy was impeccable for the Pipers as well, going 10 and a third with only one run allowed in Sunday's championship game. Molloy pitched 23.1 innings on the weekend, allowing just two runs - both against St. Thomas - and holding opponents to a .209 batting average while tossing a pair of complete games.
Tommie infielder Chase Shortly had a game-high three hits in the championship contest, going 3-for-5 at the plate on Sunday. UST outfielder Jenna Beeso and designated player Megan Baniecke each had a pair of hits in the game. In the biggest spot of her young career, sophomore utility player Sam Birling laid down the pinch-hit bunt in the bottom of the eleventh to score O'Leary and clinch the Tommies' 14th MIAC Playoff title.
For Hamline, five different players recorded a hit on Sunday. The Pipers came closest to scoring in the top of the eleventh inning when Theresa Klinnert doubled to centerfield and advanced to third on an Anna O'Connor sacrifice.
Following the game, St. Thomas was presented with the MIAC Softball Playoff Championship plaque. The Tommies also received the Conference's automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament. The complete NCAA Tournament field will be announced Monday at noon via a live online selection show on NCAA.com.
2019 MIAC SOFTBALL PLAYOFF LOCATION & SCHEDULE
LOCATION: University of St. Thomas | South Field | St. Paul, Minn.
(No. 1 seed will host entire double-elimination tournament)
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Game 3: No. 1 St. Thomas 3, No. 3 Hamline 0 | Box Score | Recap |
Game 4: No. 4 St. Olaf 4, No. 2 St. Catherine 1 | Box Score | Recap |
Game 5: No. 3 Hamline 5, No. 4 St. Olaf 0 | Box Score | Recap |
Sunday, May 5, 2019
Game 6: No. 1 St. Thomas 1, No. 3 Hamline 0 | Box Score |