WLU Women Advance to MEC Tournament Finals

WLU Women Advance to MEC Tournament Finals

   SALEM, Va. – The West Liberty University softball team advanced to the championship finals of the Mountain East Conference Tournament here Saturday with a 2-1 win against Frostburg State in the final game of the day at the James I. Moyer Softball Complex.

   Coach Herb Minch's Hilltoppers (33-15) will take on West Virginia State (29-12) at 1 p.m. Sunday in the finals of the double-elimination event. The Yellow Jackets blanked WLU, 4-0, in Saturday’s winner's bracket final to remain unbeaten in the tournament. The Black and Gold has to beat WVSU twice on Sunday to claim the crown.

   West Liberty, the defending MEC Tournament champion, earned the right to defend its title by knocking off the Bobcats (25-17) in Saturday's loser's bracket final but the win didn't come without a few anxious moments.

   The Hilltoppers gave up just one hit over the first six innings and carried a 2-0 lead into the top of the seventh only to see Frostburg State break through with a double and a single to put the tying runs on base with two out.

   Katie Ernst lifted a windblown fly ball to right fielder Madge Weidner, who was charged with an error when the ball twisted out of her grasp. One run crossed the plate but the alert Weidner pounced on the ball and fired a strike to shortstop Sidney Little, who slapped the tag on a sliding Ernst at second for the final out as she tried to take the extra base.

   Prior to the seventh inning dramatics, West Liberty had been in cruise control for most of the game. Katie Beeman and Annie Paterson delivered RBI singles in the bottom of the first for a 2-0 lead and starting pitcher Riley Bennington easily held the Bobcats at bay.

   Bennington allowed just one hit – an infield single in the top of the fourth – while striking out five and walking two through the first five innings to earn the win. Paterson worked the final two innings for the save, adding two more strikeouts while surrendering just two hits and an unearned run.

   Little had two of WLU's six hits while Riley Conkle had the only extra-base hit, a one-out double in the bottom of the second.

   In the winner's bracket final, the Black and Gold couldn't solve West Virginia State ace Kasey Murphy as the talented right-hander fired a two-hit shutout to send the Yellowjackets into Sunday's championship bracket.

   After giving up a two-out single to Laral Saunders in the top of the second, Murphy retired 16 of the next 17 Hilltopper batters to finish out the complete-game win. Beeman was the only WLU hitter to reach base the rest of the way, raking out a leadoff double in the top of the seventh.

   Back-to-back errors gave West Virginia State an unearned run in the bottom of the first and a bases-loaded walk made it 2-0 in the second inning. The Yellowjackets tacked on two more runs in the fourth frame – highlighted by a solo home run from Murphy – to all but put the game out of reach.


Mountain East Conference Tournament

(at Salem, Va.)

W.Va. State 4, West Liberty 0

West Liberty                                    000 000 0 – 0 2 2

W.Va. State                                      110 200 x – 4 8 0

    WLU: Amend lp (5SO, 2W), Bonnett (4) (0SO, 1W), Bennington (7) (0SO, 1W) and Donzella. Beeman D

    WVS: Murphy wp (3SO, 0W) and Rafuson. Murphy HR, 2S, rbi; Barrett S, rbi; Lebsock D

West Liberty 2, Frostburg State 1

Frostburg State                               000 000 1 – 1 3 2

West Liberty                                    200 000 x – 2 6 1

    FSU: Sanderson lp (1SO, 0W), Theobald (3) (2SO, 0W) and Ernst. McCarty D

   WLU: Bennington wp (5SO, 2W), Paterson (6) (2SO, 0W) and Donzella. Little 2S; Beeman S, rbi; Patterson S, rbi; Conkle D

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content