(WINONA, Minn.) – No. 6 seed Griffon Softball led No. 3 seed Augustana (S.D.) for 6 ½ innings, but the Vikings scored two in the bottom of the seventh to take the first round regional matchup, 8-7, on Thursday afternoon.
No. 15-ranked Augustana got a sacrifice fly from Shannon Peterson in the bottom of the seventh to score an unearned winning run. After Augie led off the seventh with a double to right center, Ashley Mickshl reached on a fielding error. Then Lexi Kinnaird forced a Kendall Cornick into a fly out. With one down, Maggie Kadrlik doubled down the right field line to score the tying run. One batter later, Peterson drove in Mickshl.
The Griffons took an early 1-0 lead that Augustana matched in the bottom of the first, but a three-run second gave MWSU a lead it held until the bottom of the seventh. Starting pitcher Kaili Hinds and Kinnaird managed to work around a lot of Augustana base runners to keep the Augie run total to a minimum, while the Griffon offense was taking advantage of every opportunity. Missouri Western scored its seven runs – the most allowed by Augustana since April 9 and tied for the second most allowed by the Vikings all season – on just seven hits. The Vikings needed 18 hits, including five doubles and two home runs, to score eight.
Eight walks drawn by Griffon batters were tied for the most allowed by Augie all season. The Griffons chased the starting pitcher, Mickschl from the game after four innings. The second team NFCA All-Central Region utility player allowed five runs on six hits with four walks through four innings.
Brea Blanton went 2-for-2 at the plate with three runs scored and two RBIs. She led off the game with a double, one of two in the game, and came around to score the Griffons' first run on an Emma Hoffart double. Every batter in the Griffon starting lineup reached base at least once. Kinnaird (10-5) was charged with the loss. She pitched 5 2/3 in relief of Kaili Hinds who pitched an inning-plus.
Missouri Western will face No. 7 seed St. Cloud State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. The Huskies lost 5-0 to No. 2 seed Winona State on Thursday. The Griffons defeated St Cloud State 9-8 on Feb. 2 in the Husky Dome.
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