BUCKHANNON – For the fourth time in five years, the West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcat softball team has earned a berth in the NCAA Division II Super Regional (Sweet 16).
The Lady Bobcats earned the berth after doing it the hard way today in a pair of games against the California (Pa.) Vulcans in the NCAA Division II Atlantic 1 Regional double-elimination tournament at Culpepper Field.
Wesleyan, the top seed in the tournament, needed just one win against California while the Vulcans would have to beat the Lady Bobcats twice for the tournament championship.
Wesleyan dropped game one in 10 innings by a 2-1 score but bounced back to win the championship with a hard-fought 5-3 victory.
Game one was a classic pitching match-up between Wesleyan's Hannah Vet and California's Taylor Robblee.
Neither team would score until the 10th inning.
For nine innings, Vet allowed just five hits and no runners past second base.
During those same nine innings, Robblee had given up just three hits and no runners past second base as well.
Wesleyan finally dented the scoreboard in the top of the 10th.
Gore scored on a single to right field by Sara Scoone for the game's first run.
Wesleyan couldn't capitalize on the one-out bases loaded situation as Scoone was out at home on a fielder's choice and a fly-out to center field ended the inning.
Wesleyan owned the lead at 1-0 heading into the bottom of the 10th, but leaving the bases loaded would ultimately cost the Lady Bobcats the game.
Courtney Sinclair started the bottom of the 10th with a double and then Erica Vallecorsa reached on an error.
A Megan Jahoda sacrifice bunt moved both runners up but Vet forced Hailey Wilson into a grounder for the second out of the inning.
With two strikes and two outs with runners on second and third, California's Emily Price singled up the middle scoring both runners as Cal escaped with a 2-1 win.
Vet suffered the tough loss as her record dropped to 24-4.
She went 9 2/3 innings and gave up two unearned runs on seven hits while striking out four.
Robblee earned a no-decision as she went 9 1/3 innings and gave up one earned run on six hits.
Meghan Uher (14-2) tossed 2/3 of an inning for the win.
Following a 30-minute break between games, things looked bleak for the Lady 'Cats whey they fell behind by a 2-0 score after one inning of play.
Wesleyan though countered with a four-run second inning.
Bruce started the inning with a walk and Gore followed with a single to center.
Scoone scored Bruce with a single to center and then Pogue laid down a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed that allowed Gore to score.
Two batters later, Eggleston stroked a single down the left field line that scored Scoone and Pogue to give Wesleyan a 4-2 advantage.
Price hit a one-run double for California in the top of the fourth that made it a 4-3 game.
Pinch-hitter Jessica Rodriguez handed Wesleyan an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when she singled to center field that scored Gore.
Wesleyan had six hits in the win with Eggleston and Gore getting two each.
Foley pitched 6 2/3 innings of relief as she improved her record to 18-3.
She allowed one run on six hits while striking out three.
Wesleyan is now 53-9 on the season.
They will play the University of Charleston in the Super Regional this Wednesday and Thursday in the two-team double elimination tournament.
The first game will be played this Wednesday at noon while Thursday's action will also begin at noon. If a third game is needed, it will be played Thursday at 2:30 p.m.
(Photos courtesy of Peter Galarneau Jr.)