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Softball Chases down a Super Regional championship

Softball Chases down a Super Regional championship

Junior Kierstin Anderson-Glass pitched 14 more shutout innings and senior Chase Shortly drove in five runs on the day as No. 3-ranked St. Thomas Softball scored 4-0 and 5-0 victories over UW-La Crosse Friday to win the NCAA Super Regional tournament at South Field in St. Paul.

The best-of-three series was moved up to avert potential bad weather forecast here on Saturday.

The Tommies (43-5), who have won 28 of their last 29 contests, advance to the eight-team Division III national tournament for the third time in the last six seasons and seventh time under 19-year coach John Tschida.

This year's tournament is set to begin May 23 in Tyler, Texas. The Toms will play their first game of the double-elimination series against the winner of the Super Regional series between No. 23-ranked Rowan and Eastern Connecticut State.

The 2014 Tommies placed third at nationals. The 2016 St. Thomas team placed sixth with more than a dozen current players who were freshmen at the time. The Toms also tied for ninth place in the nation with Super Regional losses in both 2017 and 2018.

St. Thomas improved to 8-0 in the postseason, including five NCAA playoff victories where it has outscored opponents 25-1. The Purple never trailed in any of its eight postseason victories.

The Tommie infielders, catcher and pitcher -- Shortly, Melissa Barry, Rachel Suter, Elise Barnes, Jenna Bromen, Anderson-Glass -- have converted 224 consecutive defensive chances (139 plays) without an error, covering the last 55 innings.

In pitching all 58 postseason innings, Anderson-Glass has allowed one run with 18 strikeouts and seven walks for a 0.12 ERA. For the third weekend in a row, Anderson-Glass was named the Most Outstanding Player or Pitcher of the tournament.

La Crosse (29-20), which scored 29 runs in five NCAA playoff games last weekend, had nine hits and 13 baserunners over 14 innings on Friday. But the Eagles were unable to break through the scoreboard on Friday as they lined into double plays in each game, and also had a runner tagged out at third base in game two.

Shortly was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Super Regional. In game one she had an RBI single in a three-run first inning and added an RBI ground out. In game two she hit a solo home run in the sixth inning for a 3-0 lead, then plated two with a two-out single in the top of seventh inning. Shortly now has 152 RBI and 205 hits in 185 career games.

On the day, St. Thomas had no errors and received hits from 10 different players. Elise Barnes' RBI hit drove in a run in the first inning of game one, and her sacrifice fly scored a run in the first inning of game two. Senior Jenna Beeso's two-out pinch hit double in the fifth made it 2-0.