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The Titans won their fourth regional title in program history on Saturday. Photo Credit: Steve Frommell, UW-Oshkosh Sports Information
The Titans won their fourth regional title in program history on Saturday. Photo Credit: Steve Frommell, UW-Oshkosh Sports Information

Titans Capture Regional Title At Home

OSHKOSH, Wis.- The UW-Oshkosh softball team defeated the College of Saint Benedict (Minn.) 8-3 at the UW-Oshkosh Softball Park on Saturday (May 18) to win the fourth NCAA Tournament regional crown in program history and second in four years.

The No. 12 nationally ranked Titans completed the Oshkosh Regional with an unblemished 3-0 record, earning a 4-1 win over Saint Benedict and a 1-0 win over Illinois Wesleyan University on Thursday and Friday (May 16-17) to take a spot in the championship contest. The Bennies eliminated Wartburg 5-3 and Illinois Wesleyan 8-3 on Friday after the tournament-opening loss.

UW-Oshkosh (41-4) advances to the super regional, facing 2023 NCAA softball champion Trine University (Ind.), ranked fifth in the nation, in the best of three series against the Thunder (42-3) on Thursday and Friday (May 23-24). More information will become available over the next few days.

Trine won the Angola Regional with a 9-0 win over Westminster College (Pa.) and victories over the University of Mount Union (Ohio) by scores of 2-0 and 8-0. Oshkosh previously won the 2021 Eau Claire Regional, 2017 La Crosse Regional and 1988 Whitewater Regional. The super regional did not exist in 1988 and the 2021 regional winners advanced straight to the world series due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Titans smashed nine hits (three extra base hits) with eight RBIs across the regional title matchup. They scored the first run of the game in the first inning and retook the lead for the final time in the third inning.

Sydney Nemetz (Jr. • Marinette) was on the rubber to start for Oshkosh on Saturday, going 4.0 innings and striking out two while allowing three runs on four hits and a walk.

Sydney Rau (Sr. • Downers Grove, Ill.) went 3-for-4 with an RBI, a run and a stolen base as the lead off batter. Morgan Rau (Sr. • Downers Grove, Ill.) hit a home run during a 2-of-3 performance with a walk, an RBI and two runs while Brianna Davis (Jr. • Oshkosh) notched two doubles in four at-bats for two RBIs and two runs.

Oshkosh stranded two Bennies on base in the top of the second inning before loading the bases with a single, a fielder's choice and a walk to bring Abby Garceau (Jr. • Mishicot) to the plate. She was also walked, which sent Hannah Ritter (Sr. • Marengo, Ill.) home.

Saint Benedict scored its first run in the top of the second with a solo home run. Cali Divito (Jr. • Inverness, Ill.) walked with one out in the bottom half, moving to third on Sydney Rau and Ritter walks, but all were left on base when the Bennies recorded straight outs on a strikeout and pop up.

Another Bennie run crossed the plate in the top of the third with a second solo shot over the fence. Morgan Rau singled as the first batter of the Titans' half of the third inning and advanced to second on an error by the Bennie shortstop. She scored her first run when Davis later doubled to right center, scoring Garceau and Morgan Rau to push Oshkosh's edge to 3-2. The following two batters got out and Davis ran home from second on a Sydney Rau single through the left side.

Saint Benedict's final run was scored when the team hit its third solo home run of the contest in the top of the fourth inning and Brianna Bougie (Fr. • Oshkosh) came in to throw the final three innings and earn her eighth save of the season. She allow no runs on two hits and a walk with three strikeouts.

Over the fifth and sixth innings, Divito scored Davis on a fielder's choice, Haylie Wittman (So. • Kaukauna) singled to center field, sending Divito home and Morgan Rau cranked a solo home run to left field, her fifth of the season.

Bougie put the Bennies down in order in the top of the sixth and the Titans closed out the regional championship with their nation-leading 27th double play in the top of the seventh.

Nemetz was named the Most Outstanding Player of the regional and was joined by Bougie, Davis and Morgan Rau on the Regional All-Tournament team.