No. 3 Seeded Softball Upends No. 7 Seed Illinois-Chicago, 6-5, For Berth In NCAA Regional Championship

May 23, 2004

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - No. 3 seeded Oregon State University earned a berth in the NCAA Regional Championship game for the second consecutive season after knocking off No. 7 seeded University of Illinois-Chicago by a 6-5 margin on Sunday afternoon. The Beavers (43-27) will face top-seeded University of Michigan (53-10) immediately.

Both teams got runners on base in the opening inning but were unable to capitalize. Mia Longfellow and Kelly Petersen hit back-to-back one-out singles but were left stranded on base and the Beaver defense turned its third double play of the tournament in the bottom half of the first after Michelle Miller hit an infield single.

Oregon State scored jumped on the scoreboard in the top of the third, taking advantage of Adrienne Alo's lead-off single to right-center field to garner a 1-0 advantage. Alo eventually crossed the plate for an OSU record 44th time on the year when Vanessa Iapala's grounder to shortstop was bobbled.

The Beavers extended their lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth when Sherina Galvan scored from second base after a failed pick-off attempt and errant throw by UIC first baseman Alycia Creese. Galvan roped her eighth double of the season to get into scoring position.

The Flames got one run back in the bottom of the fourth, taking advantage of a hit batter, single and Beaver error to close the gap to 2-1.

Things changed dramatically for both squads after a tornado warning and 1 hour and 24 minute rain delay.

UIC took advantage of two Oregon State errors to score four unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and grab a 5-3 lead against Beaver reliever Brianne McGowan. The Flames used four straight two-out hits and a pair of walks to move in front.

The Beavers responded with three runs of their own in the top of the sixth to regain the lead at 6-5. Ingrid Lochelt and Alana Mendoza tallied back-to-back one-out singles setting up an RBI double to left field by Alo. After a failed squeeze attempt on Carrie Syphers' bunt, Petersen roped a two-RBI single to center field that plated Alo and Syphers.

OSU freshman Ta'Tyana McElroy retired three of the five batters that she faced, becoming the pitcher of record, but was replaced by Hoffman after the Flames got two runners aboard with one-out in the bottom of the sixth. Hoffman, who threw the first four innings for OSU, re-entered the game and struck out back-to-back UIC batters to end the inning.

The senior hurler recorded her Oregon State record 12th save and finished the ball-game with her 275th strikeout to lead the Beavers to the championship game for the second time in as many years.

GAME RESULTS:
No. 20 Oregon State - 001 113 0 - 6 9 3
Illinois-Chicago - 000 140 0 - 5 10 4
Hoffman, McGowan (5), McElroy (5), Hoffman (6) and Allen (OSU), Aguilar and Jacoby (UIC). WP - McElroy (12-4). LP - Aguilar (16-9). 2B - Galvan (OSU), Alo (OSU), Hernandez (UIC).

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