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Brooke Karraker knocked in seven of the Saints' 15 runs on Tuesday.
Brooke Karraker knocked in seven of the Saints' 15 runs on Tuesday.
Softball - Wed, May 17, 2017
Final - Softball1234567RHE
St. Francis [IL] (42-6)0000022470
Freed-Hardeman (24-14)0000000030
Bowling Green, Ky. Buchanon Park
St. Francis [IL]PitchingFreed-Hardeman
Dieringer, MorghanWinner-
-Loser Spurlock, Mallory
-Save-
St. Francis [IL]Indv. StatsFreed-Hardeman
#7 Lenth, HaileyDoubles None
#4 Karraker, BrookeTriples None
NoneHome Runs None
Final - Softball12345RHE
Campbellsville (38-15)00030334
St. Francis [IL] (43-6)0045211101
Bowling Green, Ky. Buchanon Park
CampbellsvillePitchingSt. Francis [IL]
-Winner Dieringer, Morghan
Quint, NeelyLoser-
-Save-
CampbellsvilleIndv. StatsSt. Francis [IL]
NoneDoubles #4 Karraker, Brooke
NoneTriples None
NoneHome Runs None

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. --- Dormant for the first 12 innings of their appearance in the NAIA National Tournament – Opening Round, the University of St. Francis softball bats came to life just in the nick of time on Tuesday.  Facing elimination, the NAIA No. 9-ranked Saints delivered 15 hits to net 15 runs over their final six-and-one-third innings to knock both No. 3 seed Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) and No. 2 seed Campbellsville University (Ky.) out of the tournament with 4-0 and 11-3 victories.

That leaves No. 4 seed Indiana Wesleyan University (43-13) as the only team standing in the way of USF (43-6) making its first appearance in the NAIA World Series since 1997.  The Wildcats hold the upper-hand having already upset both the top-seeded Saints (3-0) and Campbellsville (10-7) each of the first two days of the four-team, double-elimination tournament.  USF will need a pair of wins on Wednesday to advance to the World Series.  The first game begins at noon with the second game to follow if necessary.

Keying the offensive resurgence was junior second baseman Brooke Karraker (Kankakee, Ill./ Herscher), who drove in seven runs on the day, including two on a triple in the first game and three on a double to begin the scoring in the nightcap.  She was joined by teammates Anna Wetherell (Rock Island, Ill./Muscatine CC) and Ally Balandis (Burbank, Ill./ Reavis) at the top of the order to go a combined 6-for-12 with seven RBI and six runs scored in the second game on Tuesday.

After managing just two hits in the 3-0 setback to Indiana Wesleyan on Monday, the Saints were held in check to a pair of singles through the first five innings against Freed Hardeman on Tuesday.  Then came the sixth and seventh innings where USF put together back-to-back two-run innings on five hits.

Wetherell provided the initial spark with her single back up the middle to open the sixth inning.  Two outs later, freshman first baseman Kayla Garcia (Chicago, Ill./ Lane Tech) scored Wetherell from second base (passed ball) on a single to left field.  Sophomore leftfielder Hailey Lenth (Colona, Ill./ Muscatine CC) followed with a double down the left field line to make it a 2-0 game.

One inning later, Karraker added a pair of insurance runs with another clutch two-out hit for the Saints with her triple to right centerfield.  It was Karraker's second hit of the game.         

That was more than enough for Saint starter Morghan Dieringer (New Lenox, Ill/ Lincoln-Way West), who earned her tenth shutout of the season.  After allowing a single to open the game, she did not give up another hit until one out into the sixth inning.  She finished the game yielding just three hits and two walks opposite seven strikeouts.

In the nightcap, Dieringer (26-5) worked out of a pair of jams in the second and third innings, but an error and two of Campbellsville's three hits in the game led to three unearned runs in the fourth inning after the Saints had built a 4-0 lead courtesy of Karraker and Lenth (RBI single) one half-inning earlier.

USF went right back to work in the bottom of the fourth inning, matching Campbellsville's three runs and adding two more to take a commanding 9-3 lead.  Wetherell and Karraker highlighted the inning with an RBI single and a two-run base hit, respectively.

The Saints added two more runs in the fifth inning to invoke the eight-run rule, finishing the game with 10 hits from six different batters, including junior designated player Jensen Tchorzynski (Hillman, Mich/ Delta College), who joined Wetherell, Karraker and Balandis in the two-hit club.