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Ally Balandis drove in all three of USF's runs on Wednesday.
Ally Balandis drove in all three of USF's runs on Wednesday.
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Indiana Wesleyan University
(9)Fighting Saints
Softball - Wed, May 17, 2017
Final1234567RHE
Indiana Wesleyan Universi (44-13)03003006101
University of Saint Franc (43-7)0002001370
Bowling Green, Ky Buchanon Park
Indiana Wesleyan UniversiPitchingUniversity of Saint Franc
Carson, KaiseyWinner-
-Loser Dieringer, Morghan
-Save-
Indiana Wesleyan UniversiIndv. StatsUniversity of Saint Franc
#7 Carson, KaiseyDoubles #22 Balandis, Ally
NoneTriples None
#15 Exposito, KristenHome Runs None

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. --- University of St. Francis' most successful softball season in the 38-year history of the program came to an end Wednesday afternoon when No. 4-seeded Indiana Wesleyan University completed its sweep of the NAIA National Tournament – Opening Round Bowling Green Bracket field with its 6-3 victory over the Saints.  With the win, the Wildcats (44-13) advance to the NAIA World Series May 26-June 1.

USF completes its season at 43-7 with the .860 winning percentage setting a new school record and the 43 victories tying the best mark established initially by the 1989 squad which went 43-17.

After falling behind 3-0 after two innings and 6-2 after five, the Saints put together one last rally in the seventh inning.  Junior Ally Balandis (Burbank, Ill./ Reavis) delivered her third RBI of the game (single) to make it a 6-3 game and put runners at the corners with the tying run at the plate in leading home run hitter Kayla Garcia (Chicago, Ill./ Lane Tech).  Kaisey Carson ended the threat and the game by striking Garcia out to earn her second win against USF in the tournament.  She opened the tournament on Monday with a two-hit shutout of the Saints in a 3-0 win.

On Wednesday, Carson (24-8) helped herself with an RBI double to open the second-inning scoring before Lauren Buckley made it a 3-0 game one batter later with her two-run single.

The Saints got back in the game in the fourth inning when juniors Anna Wetherell (Rock Island, Ill./ Muscatine CC) and Brooke Karraker (Kankakee, Ill./ Herscher) (two hits) opened the frame with back-to-back singles.  Balandis followed with a two-run double to right centerfield to make it a 3-2 contest.  Garcia followed with a walk, but both runners were left stranded when Carson coaxed an infield popup and two groundouts to end the rally.

Indiana Wesleyan made up for those two runs and then some one-half inning later when the first two batters reached on a single and walk before Kristen Exposito deposited a 2-1 pitch over the centerfield fence for a three-run home run.

The Saints did nothing in the fifth inning before getting two runners aboard in the sixth inning only to have Carson get out of that jam as well as the one in the seventh inning to gain he complete-game victory

Morghan Dieringer (New Lenox, Ill/ Lincoln-Way West) (26-6) suffered the loss for the Saints, but that did not deter from an incredible season for the junior right-hander.  The 26 wins on the season for the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year ranked third all-time on the Saints' charts and one win shy of the No. 2 mark.

USF, which finished the regular season ranked ninth in the NAIA Coaches' Poll, returns 15 of 16 players from the current squad in 2018.