UW-Oshkosh's second straight and eighth overall appearance at the NCAA Division III Softball Championship concluded with a pair of setbacks to nationally ranked opponents Friday (May 11) during the regional round in St. Paul, Minn.
University of St. Thomas (Minn.) defeated the Titans, 7-3, in the St. Paul Regional winner's bracket final. Central College (Iowa) then eliminated UW-Oshkosh by a 2-0 score. Regional host University of St. Thomas (37-6) is ranked seventh in the country by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association while Central College (29-11) lists 23rd.
UW-Oshkosh (26-14) opened the St. Paul Regional with a 5-2 victory over Central College on Thursday (May 10). The Titans, who won the La Crosse Regional a year ago, produced their 15th consecutive season with at least 20 wins.
In the winner's bracket final, UW-Oshkosh owned a 3-1 lead after fourth innings before University of St. Thomas came back with three runs in both the fifth and sixth frames.
The Tommies outhit UW-Oshkosh, 13-7, including 9-1 over the final three innings.
Melissa Barry went 3-for-3 for University of St. Thomas while Elise Barnes and Chase Shortly had a pair of hits and two runs batted in apiece.
University of St. Thomas opened the scoring with an RBI single from Barnes in the top of the third inning, but the Titans answered with three runs on four hits during the home half of the frame as Dudek tied the score with a double that plated Acacia Tupa. Abby Menting and Witter added run-scoring singles to give UW-Oshkosh a 3-1 advantage.
UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Bailey Smaney worked around a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, and the Titans stranded a runner at third base in the bottom of the frame before the Tommies took the lead for good in the fifth on a run-scoring double by Shortly, an RBI infield single from Dana Connelly and a sacrifice fly by Sammy Hogan.
Dudek represented the tying run after she led off the Titan fifth inning with a single. However, Hogan, who entered the Tommies pitcher's circle in the third inning, induced a double-play grounder and a flyout to thwart the threat.
University of St. Thomas capped the scoring in the sixth inning that featured run-scoring hits from Barnes and Shortly.
Hogan (13-2) was credited with the win, holding the Titans to one run on four hits in 4.2 innings pitched. She walked two and struck out one.
Smaney (11-4) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on eight hits in five innings with one walk and one strikeout.
In the elimination contest, Central College avenged Thursday's loss to UW-Oshkosh behind a one-hit shutout from Annie DeVries. The Dutch supported DeVries' complete-game performance with unearned runs in the first and third innings.
DeVries, who gave up a single to Tupa to lead off the game, proceeded to retire 21 of the next 22 Titan batters on the way to improving her season record to 14-3. The only baserunner DeVries allowed after Tupa's hit was a walk to Kaitlyn Krol with one out in the fourth inning.
Central College's Sara Tallman led off the bottom of the first by reaching first base via an error by Dudek at shortstop. Tallman advanced to second base on a groundout and scored after a single from Tabitha Taylor.
Taylor, who accounted for two of Central College's six hits, laced a two-out triple in the third inning and crossed the plate on the play following a throwing error by Menting, the Titans catcher.
UW-Oshkosh starting pitcher Claire Petrus (13-9) was charged with the loss despite yielding two unearned runs on six hits in 5.1 innings.
Central College, which entered regional play fifth in the nation with 3.41 stolen bases per game, was held to one steal on two attempts during its two meetings with UW-Oshkosh.
UW-Oshkosh's Dudek and Witter were among 10 players named to the St. Paul Regional All-Tournament Team.
UW-Oshkosh Postgame Press Conferences: