MONTGOMERY, Ill. – With top seed Concordia-Wisconsin eliminated earlier in the day, the MSOE Raiders softball team were left with a wide-open lane to the NACC tournament crown. A four run fifth inning made that lane even larger, as the Red & White have to win just one game in two tries tomorrow with a 4-0 victory over the Marian Sabres on Friday night.
No. 4 Marian – 0
No. 2 MSOE Raiders – 4
HOW IT HAPPENED
It's funny how similar the start to these last two ballgames have been. MSOE (32-10) and Marian (25-14) started off in a stalemate through the first four innings, even though the Raiders did provide a massive threat in the bottom of the fourth. The Red & White had the bases loaded with nobody out, but unfortunately a line rope back to the shortstop allowed the Sabres to double-up MSOE to get out of the inning.
The only time either team scored was in the next inning, and it was the Raiders that did the plating of runs. Julia Marsh (Omaha, Neb. / Millard North) started off the frame with a single to center, followed by a Lorrin Pondo (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Bolingbrook) groundout that moved Marsh over to third after a wild pitch had occurred. Kara McKenna (Downer's Grove, Ill. / South) picked up the first RBI of the evening with a single up the middle, which kick started everything. The next four Raider batters would reach base, capped off with an Amanda Manssen (Bull Valley, Ill. / McHenry West) double to deep left center to put the Raiders up 4-0.
Emily Wiederholt (Cuba City, Wis. / Cuba City) started the ballgame, and she finished it as well. Wiederholt pitched until the top of the fourth, giving way to Pondo who took it all the way to the finish line…almost. A liner back to the mound took her out of the game, leading to Wiederholt getting the ball once again to get the last three outs in the 4-0 win, their 15th in a row.
The Raiders pitching staff has dominated the NACC teams they've seen in this tournament so far. The "two headed monster" combination of Lorrin Pondo and Emily Wiederholt haven't allowed a run in 14 innings, while giving up just four hits to the batters of Wisconsin-Lutheran and Marian.
MSOE STAT TRACKER
Rachel Ziemba (South Elgin, Ill. / South Elgin) – 3 hits
Julia Marsh - 1 run, 2 hits
Amanda Manssen – 1 run, 1 hit, 2 RBIs,
Emily Wiederholt - 4.1 innings pitched, 1 hit given up, 0 runs allowed
WHO'S ON DECK
The Raiders will once again wait to see who their next opponent will be tomorrow, as they will take on the winner of the Aurora/Marian contest which starts at 10:00 am. That opponent must defeat the Red & White two straight time to prevent MSOE from brining home their first NACC tournament championship starting at Noon.