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Hannah Ritter sent one of the Titans' four runs home on Friday night. Photo Credit: Michael Sudhalter
Hannah Ritter sent one of the Titans' four runs home on Friday night. Photo Credit: Michael Sudhalter

Weather Conditions No Match For Titans In World Series Opener

MARSHALL, Texas- Multiple hours of weather delays had no effect on UW-Oshkosh softball as the Titans opened the 2024 NCAA Division III World Series with a 4-1 victory over Virginia Wesleyan University on Thursday night (May 30).

This year's edition of the World Series is being hosted by East Texas Baptist University on Bell Park at Taylor Field.

This is the Titans' third appearance in the World Series. They finished sixth in the 1988 finals hosted in Elmhurst, Ill. and fifth in the 2021 finals in Salem, Va. Friday's win is the first first round victory for the Titans in NCAA postseason history.

Five seed Virginia Wesleyan (40-9) out-hit four seed Oshkosh (45-5) 10-5 while committing four errors to the Titans' one. Titan pitchers fanned six combined batters and just one Oshkosh batter struck out.

Starting Oshkosh pitcher Brianna Bougie (Fr. • Oshkosh) pitched a scoreless first half inning before the game was suspended for multiple hours. The contest, originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday was started for the final time at 10:35 p.m. due to the Linfield University (Ore.)-Tufts University (Mass.) game going to extra innings and multiple weather delays.

When the Titans and Marlins returned to action, the teams traded quick at-bats before the Titans scored the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the second. Sophie Wery (Jr. • Seymour) ended the top of the second by catching Julia Piotrowski stealing, her 12th runner caught stealing of the season.

Hannah Ritter (Sr. • Marengo, Ill.) kicked things off with a single to left field before Lizzie Slobodecki (Jr. • Carol Stream, Ill.) came in to pinch run. She advanced to second when Morgan Rau (Sr. • Downers Grove, Ill.) grounded out and reach third on an Abby Garceau (Jr. • Mishicot) single to VWU pitcher Emma Adams. Oshkosh's first run crossed the plate when a Haylie Wittman (So. • Kaukauna) groundout to second moved Slobodecki another base. Garceau made the score 2-0 a batter later, scoring as Sarah Hammerton (Fr. • Appleton) reached on a throwing error by Marlin shortstop Karley Beltran.

Another Titan run scored in the bottom of the third after Bougie worked another scoreless inning. Sydney Rau (Sr. • Downers Grove, Ill.) reached safely as the leadoff batter by laying down a bunt and beating out the catcher's throw to first base. She advanced to third during Brianna Davis' (Jr. • Oshkosh) and Wery's at-bats before scoring on Ritter's groundout.

The Marlins reached second once over the following three innings and the Oshkosh defense kept them off the board by recording an out on a fielder's choice, closing out the top of the fourth inning.

Bougie pitched into the seventh inning, notching five strikeouts while allowing 10 hits. The Marlins scored their only run of the game in the top of the seventh with two outs and the bases loaded as Bougie let up her only walk of the game. Sydney Nemetz (Jr. • Marinette) came in as relief after the run scored and threw three consecutive strikes to Olivia Knight to end the nine hour and 38 minute game.

Bougie (10-1) was credited with the win and Nemetz picked up her second save of the season.

Game 3 will kick off the second day of the World Series, second-seeded East Texas Baptist University (39-2) will face Rowan University (N.J.), seeded seventh, at 9 a.m., followed by Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) (40-7) and Belhaven University (Miss.) at 11 a.m. for Game 4 in a battle of the three and six seeds. Games 3 and 4 were originally scheduled to play on Thursday, however they were moved due to the weather delays.

UW-Oshkosh will play in Game 5 at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (May 30) against top-seeded Linfield. After the Oshkosh-Linfield game, No. 8 seed Tufts plays Virginia Wesleyan in an elimination game at 3 p.m. for Game 6. The winners of Games 3 and 4 play Game 7 at 5 p.m. and the non-advancing teams of the same games play in the second elimination game at 7 p.m.

Post-game Press Conference