Bloomington, Ill. – A magical season came to an end for the Transylvania softball team following a 2-1 loss to the Illinois Wesleyan Titans in the championship game of the NCAA Bloomington Regional at the IWU Softball Field on Sunday afternoon.
Entering the day needing to beat the Titans twice in order to capture the Bloomington regional and advance forward in the NCAA Tournament, the Pioneers were unable to force a deciding game as the Titans finished off the regional in one game on Sunday afternoon, relying on two early scores and a defensive effort the rest of the way.
The game started off in similar fashion to the previous day's matchup between the two teams, with the Titans taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning as the Titans used a solo home run to left centerfield to forge ahead.
Illinois Wesleyan added another run in the bottom of the third inning to extend its lead to 2-0.
Neither team was able to create and additional offense over the next three innings.
With their backs against the wall, the Pioneers made their move in the top of the seventh inning towards a final comeback.
After junior outfielder Shelby Gambrell got hit by a pitch to load the bases, freshman second baseman Cece Wittry brought the Pioneers within a run with an RBI sacrifice-fly to left field, making the score 2-1 in favor of the Titans.
However, the Titans held strong and the Pioneers were unable to bring another run home as Illinois Wesleyan took the game by the final score of 2-1, ending Transylvania's season.
Senior pitcher Renae Morton picked up the loss for Transylvania after striking out four batters and giving up just two runs in 3.2 innings of work, ending her stellar season with a record of 19-7.
Freshman pitcher Kameron Bowling pitched the final 2.1 innings for Transylvania, allowing no hits while striking out three Titans.
The loss ends one of the most successful seasons in Pioneer softball history. The team finishes with an overall record of 34-9, a 14-2 record in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, an 11 game win-streak, an HCAC regular-season championship, and a trip to the regional round of the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament.
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