With the season on the line, sophomore pitcher Kindra Henze didn't allow an earned run and back-to-back complete games, as the Truman softball team staved off elimination twice to advance to Sunday's NCAA Div. II Midwest sub-regional championship.
The Bulldogs (43-12) used an 8th-inning walkoff victory against Bellarmine (Ky.) to move one in game one, before the purple and white used two big innings to exact revenge against Ohio Dominican 6-0 in game two.
Truman now moves on to face top-seeded Missouri-St. Louis in Sunday's championship at 12 p.m. The Bulldogs must defeat UMSL twice, with an if necessary game scheduled for 2:30 p.m., to advance to next weekend's Midwest super-regional.
Henze pitched all 15 innings on the day, striking out 13 and giving up just seven hits to run her season record to 23-6 overall.
Game 1 Recap:
Pinch-runner Kelsey Jacques came home from third after an errant throw in the bottom of the eighth, sending Truman on with a 2-1 victory against Great Lakes Valley Conference-rival Bellarmine (Ky.).
Jacques, who came on to pinch-run for Truman's Whitney Richardson, moved to second on a wild pitch during Danielle Lewellen's at-bat. Lewellen popped out to shallow left to bring Andrea Klipsch to the plate.
Klipsch grounded out deep to the hole between shortstop and third, and as the throw to first went across the diamond, Jacques took off for third base.
The throw beat Klipsch at first, but the return throw went into the third base foul area to allow Jacques to score the game's winning run.
Both teams plated one in the third, with Bellarmine getting an RBI double from Erica Knollman to put the Knights on top 1-0.
However, Truman rebounded with a run in the home half, as a Lewellen RBI groundout permitted Ally McReynolds to score.
Each team had quality chances to get the go-ahead run, but pitchers Kindra Henze and Alicia Miller were up to the task all afternoon, leaving a handful of runners standing on the third base bag.
Henze went the distance and struck out nine in her eight innings of work.
. The run she allowed was unearned, as the sophomore earned her 22nd win of the season.
Truman had just four hits offensively but stole. two bases (Lewellen and Corey Niblett). Both teams were sloppy defensively, committing three errors apiece.
Game 2 Recap:
Henze tossed a shutout, and the Bulldogs used two big innings to close out a second win of the afternoon, dispatching Ohio Dominican 6-0 in an elimination game.
Truman scored two in the second, getting a leadoff home run by Jessica VanNostrand (5th of the season) before McReynolds scored on a fielder's choice and error later in the inning.
Then, in the fourth, Truman loaded the bases with no out to set up a bases-loaded walk by Klipsch. Kelsey Bollman then drove home one with a sacrifice fly, before a double steal sent Klipsch to second and Lewellen across the plate to push the margin to 5-0.
Truman pushed across its sixth run in the top of the seventh when Liz Leath sent a pitch into center field, allowing pinch-runner Jacques to score from second.
Lewellen, J. VanNostrand, McReynolds, and Richardson each recorded two hits as part of Truman's 10 on the day. Lewellen added three steals, while Klipsch added a stolen base of her own as well.
Courtesy Truman State University