ST. PAUL, Minn. — Wartburg College won a nine-inning comeback thriller to stay alive, but couldn’t pull it off a second time Friday as the Knights bowed out of the NCAA Division III softball tournament.
Wartburg defeated Northwestern (Minn.) 6-4 in its first game of the day before falling 4-3 to Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Northwestern jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opener before Knights relievers Lauren Reicks and Maddie Rog came on to pitch seven scoreless innings.
Meanwhile, Wartburg chipped away.
Wartburg tied it in the top of the seventh on singles by Liz Roby-Miklus, Kailee O’Brien and Illg followed by Levine’s RBI ground out, then scored the winning runs in the top of the ninth. Roby-Miklus bunted for a hit, Illg was hit by a pitch and an error plated Roby-Miklus. The Knights’ second run scored on a double steal.
In game two, Wartburg was hoping to avenge Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to Wisconsin-Eau Claire, but the Eagles started fast and hung on.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire (28-12-1) led 3-0 after three innings and 4-1 after the top of the seventh. The Knights rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t get the tying run across.
Roby-Miklus and Leah Campos had two hits each in the second game while Grace Petersen drove in two runs.
Wartburg finished the season with a 27-13 record.
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WARTBURG 6, NORTHWESTERN 4
Wartburg 000 102 102 — 6 12 2
Northwestern 310 000 000 — 4 8 1
Gray, Reicks (3), Rog (5) and Rentschler, Petersen. Kopacek and Forcier. WP — Rog. LP — Kopacek. 2B — Illg (Wart), Levine (Wart), Brecht (Wart), Stoaks (Wart), Aasness (Nor).
Records: Wartburg 28-12, Northwestern 27-17.
WIS.-EAU CLAIRE 4, WARTBURG 3
Wis.-Eau Claire 021 000 1 — 4 9 0
Wartburg 000 001 2 — 3 7 0
Joh, Peka (5) and Place. Gray, Reicks (3), Rog (5) and Petersen. WP — Joh (9-5). LP — Gray (8-5). 2B — Rongst (EC), Campos (Wart).
Records: Wartburg 27-13, Wis.-Eau Claire 28-12-1.