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Luther advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA III National Softball Championships defeating Case Western Reserve University in an elimination game this evening by a final of 7-6.
CWRU took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Norse were able to cut the lead in half thanks to a two-out RBI double by Abby Gehringer off the left field fence in the second. The Norse exploded for five runs in the third frame. Anna Strien and Bailey Hocker each drove in a run with singles and Megan Bonnett and Natalie Stockman drew bases loaded walks. The Norse also scored on a Spartan error. Luther's last run came in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI double by Addy Pender down the right field line. CWRU made things interesting scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth frame to pull to within 7-5.
Courtney Cooper entered the game in relief for Samantha Bratland in the fifth and held the Spartans in check. In the sixth, with Spartans runners on second and third and one out, Cooper struck out the last two batters of the frame. In the seventh, CWRU pulled to within a run and had the tying run on second with one out and Cooper once again struck out the final two batters she faced. The save was the first of her collegiate career. Bratland was credited with the win and is now 27-6.
The victory ties the school record for wins in a season. The Norse are now 42-10.
Luther will face Illinois Wesleyan tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. The Norse must beat the Titans twice to reach the championship series.
Questions? Contact David Blanchard, post_to_results, 563-387-1586
Learn more at https://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule