May 16, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A four-run explosion in the seventh inning, set off by two key hits by Boilermaker seniors, lifted the Purdue softball team to a 6-2 victory over UT Martin in an NCAA Regional elimination game on Saturday. The win kept the Boilermakers' season going and secured the program its 11th-straight 30 win season.
Purdue scored six runs on 12 hits, while the Skyhawks managed two runs on six hits and a Boilermaker miscue. Four Boilermaker players registered two hits: seniors Katie Mitchell and Kelly Miller, junior Jena Alexander and freshman Molly Garst.
Sophomore Suzie Rzegocki (24-12) struck out one batter in the complete-game victory, while Paij Lintz (11-8) was saddled with the loss for UT Martin.
The Boilermakers wasted no time jumping on the scoreboard, putting up a run on three hits in the opening stanza. Junior Liane Horiuchi sent a leadoff double up the left field line and advanced to third on a grounder to the shortstop. Mitchell brought her home with two outs, bouncing a double off the fence in right center. Alexander followed with a single through the left side, giving Purdue runners at the corners. A deep foul ball to left was caught to prevent the Boilermakers from adding to their lead.
UT Martin managed a single in the bottom of the inning, but could not score.
Purdue added another run on three hits in the second. Senior Christina Trauger started things off with a one-out single to short. Miller bumped her to second, looping a single into short left field, just inside the foul line. Garst picked up the RBI spinning a single past the shortstop. Trauger came home on the play, but Miller was tagged out at third to end the inning.
Junior Ashley Barr registered a bunt single in the fourth and went to second on a grounder to the shortstop, but could get no further.
The Boilermakers threatened again in the fifth with two walks a wild pitch. Horiuchi drew a lead off free pass, then swiped second for her 40th steal of the season. Mitchell garnered a base on balls with two outs. The pair then advanced in scoring position on a wild pitch, but were left stranded on a looking strikeout.
The Skyhawks tied it up in the bottom of the fifth as Megan Williams sent two-out, two-run single into left center. The hit scored Chelsea Cary and pinch hitter Jessica Gourdier, who were on second and third after singles and two passed balls.
The Purdue seniors came up big in the seventh, driving in four runs to make it 6-2. The Boilermakers posted five hits in the stanza. Miller led off with a single to the shortstop and was sacrificed over to second. Garst poked a single past the shortstop to push Miller to third. Garst then stole second, setting the table for senior Candace Curtis, who put the team on top with a double off the center field wall, plating two. Curtis came home the next play as Mitchell launched a towering home run over the left field wall. Alexander kept the hits coming with a single up the right field line. Pinch runner Katie Stratten was sacrificed to second, but a grounder to third base prevented further damage.
A single kept hope alive for the Skyhawks in the seventh. A runner's interference call accounted for the inning's first out, but put a runner aboard. A ground out advanced the runner into scoring position, but a grounder to the pitcher sealed the Purdue win.
The Boilermakers (30-19) will take on No. 19 Louisville at 3 p.m. in another elimination game. The winner will advance to play No. 6 Arizona in the regional championship game on Sunday.