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USI softball heading to NCAA Super Regional

Screaming Eagles swept two games over Saginaw Valley State on Saturday
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Published: May. 14, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - University of Southern Indiana Softball swept two games from No. 8-seeded Saginaw Valley State University Saturday to win the NCAA Division II Midwest Region #1 Tournament and clinch a spot in next week’s NCAA II Midwest Super Regional.

The top-seeded Screaming Eagles (47-11), who earned their third trip to the super regionals and first since winning the national championship in 2018, came out of the elimination bracket to defeat the Cardinals, 5-0, in the opener to force an “if necessary” game. They rallied from a 2-1 deficit to earn a 7-2 win in the deciding game.

USI will host No. 3-seeded Grand Valley State University in the best-of-three super regional Thursday-Friday at the USI Softball Field. Game one on Thursday will be 1 p.m., while game two on Friday is a noon start. The third game, if necessary, would be Friday at 2:30 p.m.

USI 5, SVSU 0

USI played small ball to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning of the opening game. Sophomore outfielder Mackenzie Bedrick (Brownsburg, Indiana) drew a lead-off walk and scored the first run following a sacrifice bunt, base hit and sacrifice fly by junior pitcher/designated player Allie Goodin (Evansville, Indiana).

Saginaw Valley State (36-20) had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the third, but Goodin was able to get out of the jam to keep the Eagles in front.

Senior third baseman Mary Bean (Chicago, Illinois) led the bottom of the third inning off with a solo home run, while a solo home run by sophomore first baseman Lexi Fair (Greenwood, Indiana) to lead off the sixth inning put the Eagles in front, 3-0. Sophomore catcher Sammie Kihega (Greenfield, Indiana) hit a two-run home run four batters later as USI went up, 5-0.

Goodin (15-3) earned the win after blanking the Cardinals through 4 1/3 innings of work. Freshman pitcher Josie Newman (Indianapolis, Indiana) picked up her third save of the year after holding the Cardinals scoreless through 2 2/3 innings of work.

USI 7, SVSU 2

Despite jumping out to a 1-0 lead with a first-inning tally, the Eagles found themselves playing catchup after the Cardinals struck for two runs in the top of the fourth frame.

USI, however, responded as Goodin drove in sophomore outfielder Mackenzie Bedrick (Brownsburg, Indiana) for the second time to tie the contest in the fifth inning.

The Eagles took the lead two batters later when Kihega hit a three-run shot over the right-centerfield fence. USI tacked on two more tallies in the sixth inning as freshman outfielder Kennedy Nalley (Huntingburg, Indiana) hit an RBI-triple into the gap in right-center, while Fair had a successful suicide squeeze in the next at-bat to give the Eagles a comfortable 7-2 cushion.

Newman (16-3) got the win after allowing two runs off five hits in seven innings of work. She had six strikeouts in the victory.

Notes

  • USI will be hosting super regionals for the second time in program history and the first since 2017. The Eagles are 4-0 all-time at super regionals, having swept Wayne State University in 2017 at the USI Softball Field before sweeping the University of Illinois Springfield on the road during their national title run in 2018.
  • The Eagles finished the NCAA II Midwest Region Tournament with a 4-1 record to improve their season win total to 47, just one shy of the program’s all-time win record (48), which was set in 1998.
  • After being held to just three hits in their first shutout since March 5, the Eagles responded by hitting .409 as a team with 13 doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 30 RBI in the last four games. Bedrick hit .636 with seven runs scored, while Goodin hit .636 with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBI. Fair hit .600 with two doubles, two triples and six RBI, while Kihega hit .462 with a double, two home runs and seven RBI.
  • Saturday’s wins marked the 19th time this season USI has swept two games in a day.

Courtesy: USI Athletics

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