ST. PAUL, Minn. – The 2018 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Softball Playoff Championship will feature two of the nation's top-15 ranked teams, as No. 7 St. Thomas is set to take on No. 13 Saint Benedict in the Conference title game on Sunday.
The top-seeded Tommies advanced to the Championship Game with playoff victories over No. 5 seed St. Olaf on Friday and No. 3 seed St. Catherine on Saturday. CSB – seeded No. 2 in the field – rebounded from a Friday night loss to St. Kate's to defeat the Oles in extra innings before avenging the previous night's defeat with a lightning-delayed win over the Wildcats to clinch a spot in the playoff championship.
NO. 1 ST. THOMAS 3, NO. 3 ST. CATHERINE 1 | BOX SCORE |
The nation's No. 7-ranked team never trailed as the Tommies improved to 10-0 at home this season with a 3-1 victory over St. Catherine on Saturday. Sophomore infielder Elise Barnes led off the UST half of the first inning with a home run over the left field fence to put the Toms on top from the start. Sammy Hogan batted in a run in the fourth and Chase Shortly added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to complete the St. Thomas scoring for the day. Tommie pitcher Hayley Dunning improved to 22-2 on the year, allowing one run over seven innings, stranding eight without giving up an extra-base hit in the game. St. Kate's catcher Sammie Galvez drove in Ashley Sis with a single to left for the Wildcats' lone run of the game.
NO. 2 SAINT BENEDICT 5, NO. 5 ST. OLAF 4 | BOX SCORE |
Saint Benedict kept its MIAC Championship hopes alive with a 5-4 victory over St. Olaf in nine innings of play Saturday afternoon. Down 4-1 in the fifth inning, a wild pitch enabled Saint Ben's to rally back with three unearned runs to tie the game. The two squads remained knotted up until Megan Toninato reached first base on a sacrifice bunt which, coupled with a fielding error, enabled Kate Deming to cross home plate for the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. CSB threw a trio of pitchers, with Kiela DeVlaeminck picking up the win. Ole leadoff hitter Kate Arneson scored runners with both her hits on the day.
NO. 2 SAINT BENEDICT 8, NO. 3 ST. CATHERINE 2 | BOX SCORE |
After topping St. Olaf in extra innings, Saint Ben's got right back to work with a second consecutive win while facing elimination against what became a very familiar foe in St. Catherine. Saturday afternoon's matchup between the two regionally-ranked teams was the squads' fourth in the last five days and second of the weekend. Pitcher Alex Smith gave Saint Ben's a boost with both her arm and bat, going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored to go along with a complete game win, highlighted by zero earned runs against a notoriously dangerous Wildcat lineup. CSB leadoff batter Kate Deming batted .750 with three RBI in the contest. Pitcher Krista Flugstad made her fourth start in the last three days, tossing three-and-a-third for St. Kate's. Centerfielder Anna Hinderaker batted in both runs for the Wildcats.
St. Thomas and Saint Benedict will now meet in the 2018 MIAC Softball Playoff Championship Game on Sunday at 11 a.m., with a second game – if necessary – immediately following. The winner of the MIAC Softball Playoffs will receive the Conference's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament.
MIAC SOFTBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
LOCATION: University of St. Thomas | South Field | St. Paul, Minn.
(No. 1 seed St. Thomas will host entire double-elimination round; Thursday play-in games will be hosted by the high seed)
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Game 1: No. 3 St. Catherine 1, No. 6 Carleton 0 | Box Score | Recap |
Game 2: No. 5 St. Olaf 1, No. 4 Augsburg 0 | Box Score | Recap |
*Winners advance to four-team double-elimination tournament
Friday, May 4, 2018
Game 3: No. 1 St. Thomas 6, No. 5 St. Olaf 0 | Box Score | Recap | Photos |
Game 4: No. 3 St. Catherine 4, No. 2 Saint Benedict 2 | Box Score | Recap | Photos |
Saturday, May 5, 2018
Game 5: No. 1 St. Thomas 3, No. 3 St. Catherine 1 | Box Score | Photos |
Game 6: No. 2 Saint Benedict 5, No. 5 St. Olaf 4 (9 innings) | Box Score | Photos |
Game 7: No. 2 Saint Benedict 8, No. 3 St. Catherine 2 | Box Score |
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Game 8: No. 1 St. Thomas vs. No. 2 Saint Benedict | 11 a.m. | Live Stats | Video |
Game 9: No. 1 St. Thomas vs. No 2 Saint Benedict | 1 p.m. | Live Stats | Video | (if necessary)
All Playoff information including seedings, scores and recaps can be found on the 2018 MIAC Softball Playoffs. Fans can also follow the action on the MIAC Scoreboard, on the free MIAC mobile app, and on social media through the MIAC's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.