OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan University softball team split the first two games of the NCAA Division III Championship Title Series with Illinois Wesleyan University Monday afternoon at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium. The squad came out victorious in game one, winning 6-1, before being edged, 5-4, in extra innings in game two. With the results, the Marlins are now 54-3 on the season and will square off against Illinois Wesleyan in a winner take all game beginning at 11 a.m. (12 p.m. EST) on Tuesday.
GAME 1: VWU - 6 IWU - 1
Both teams got it going early as each side came away with a run in the opening frame. As the away team, the Marlin's run came first as Madison Glaubke sent a solo shot over the right field wall. The Titans answered back with one of their own in the bottom of the inning.
The following inning, the Marlins tacked on two more beginning an RBI single from Cassetty Howerin that drove home Kiersten Richardson. After Howerin stole second, Katelyn Biando got in on the action, sending her home with an RBI single.
The final run of the evening came by way of Howerin, who picked up her second RBI of the day with a single that allowed Richardson to reach.
Hanna Hull allowed just her first run of the tournament, while striking out nine in the process. The sophomore now has 39 wins on the year and, with one more, can tie the Division III record for wins in a season.
GAME 2: IWU -5 VWU -4
The Marlins came right out of the gate in game two, as the first three batters of the first inning loaded the bases. Biando used her clean up spot to drive in one, but Glaubke, who was on second, was tagged out at the plate. Later in the inning, a Jessica Lindsay RBI double would double up the Marlin lead.
Illinois Wesleyan would even it back up in the third, with a double that scored two. The Titans then took the lead on some controversial calls in the top of the sixth. A play at the plate had the IWU runner out at the plate, but was reversed after the umpires talked about it. One batter later, a Titan runner was caught trying to steal home, but was given the run after an obstruction call was determined.
Down two runs, the Marlins were down to their final two outs when Glaubke singled down the right field line. She would then move to third as Howerin followed her at-bat with a double down the right field line. Biando then picked up a sacrifice fly as she sent a ball deep into the outfield that allowed Glaubke to reach. That brought up Teresa Cardamone who ran the count to full with a runner at second. The senior never waivered, blooping a ball down the right field line that scored her teammate from second, tying the game.
The Titans battled back though, scoring one in the first extra innings and VWU was unable to answer back.
Hull dealt for the first 6.0 innings, dealing up nine punch outs. She would be relieved by Carla Hall who was saddled with her first loss of the season (10-1).