FINDLAY, Ohio - The Saginaw Valley State University Softball team, ranked No. 24 nationally, claimed the 2017 GLIAC Softball Tournament championship after defeating Ashland University in the first two games of Sunday's best-of-three championship series. The Cardinals opened play on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over the Eagles before claiming the championship with an 11-7 win in the second game of the day.
The tournament title is the first for the Cards since the 2009 campaign and puts the team's overall record at 35-14 on the season. The 35 wins are the most since the 2011 season.
The first game went scoreless through the first five innings, as both pitchers were settled in nicely and didn't allow runs despite several scoring opportunities.
Saginaw Valley struck for the game's only run in the home half of the sixth inning. Meredith Rousse singled to lead off the bottom half. Aubree Mouthaan followed, delivering another single to advance Rousse to second. That set the stage for Courtney Reeves, who dug-in and ripped an RBI single to score Rousse for the 1-0 lead. SV had another opportunity but pinch-runner was thrown out at the plate and the game would move to the 7th inning.
Cardinal starter Samantha Willman took care of it from there, getting the Eagles 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th to close-out for the win.
Inside the Boxscore
- Willman (19-6) posted eight strikeouts in the complete game victory. She allowed five hits and walked four in the shutout.
- Reeves and Mouthaan each had two of the team's six total hits, with Reeves delivering the game-winning RBI.
- Rousse had a hit and scored the game-winner.
- Lauren Bachert had the other Cardinal hit.
- Madison Burgess had a walk and the team's only stolen base.
The second game of the championship series featured more offense, as SV notched 14 hits and the Eagles 11. Serving as the visiting team in the second contest, the Cardinals plated four runs in the top of the 2nd to take the 4-0 edge. Evy Lobdell had an RBI single to score Mouthaan for the first run. Bachert then drove-in Reeves to make it 2-0 in SV's favor. Becky Corbett then had a two-RBI double that pushed Lobdell and Bachert across for the third and fourth runs.
Ashland responded with two in the 2nd and a single run in the third, trimming the deficit to 4-3.
Breanna Dinsmoore led-off the 4th inning with a triple to get things rolling for the Cards. She was scored on a two-out infield single by Danielle Hamilton to make the count 5-3 in the Cardinals' favor.
The Eagles wouldn't go away, however, going for a pair of runs themselves in the bottom half on a two-run blast to knot the score at 5-5.
The Cardinals responded with another four-run inning in the 5th, grabbing the lead back and putting the score at 9-5. Bachert scored Mouthaan on an RBI single and Corbett had another double, this time scoring Reeves and Bachert. Burgess then had an RBI groundout that allowed Dinsmoore to cross home plate.
Two more SVSU runs came in the 6th inning, extending the lead out to 11-5. Mouthaan scored Rousse with an RBI single and Bachert added one herself, pushing Mouthaan across.
The Eagles made things interesting in the bottom of the 7th, scoring a pair of runs to put the score at 11-7.
Willman, who started the game, entered for Annie Hansen, and got the next three outs to seal the championship for the Cardinals and the 11-7 final.
Inside the Boxscore
- Hansen (8-4) got the victory in relief for Saginaw Valley. She worked 3.1 innings of relief, allowing four runs with a strikeout.
- Willman got the save in the clinching victory, totaling 3.2 innings pitched in the game.
- Bachert went 3-4 in game two with three RBI and two runs scored.
- Mouthaan was 2-3 with an RBI and scored three times.
- Corbett had a pair of doubles and drove-in four runs for SVSU.
- Dinsmoore went 2-3 with a pair of runs and the triple.
- Rousse was 2-4 with a double and run scored.
Having sealed an automatic bid into the 2017 NCAA Division II Tournament, the Cardinals will await their postseason destination on Monday morning. The annual postseason selection show will air at 10:00 a.m. on ncaa.com. SVSU was ranked No. 4 in the latest Midwest Regional Rankings. Click here to watch the event live.
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