May 16, 2003
SALEM, Ore. - Emily Hetzner and Susan Churchwell had RBI singles in the ninth inning on Friday night, while junior pitcher Amy Rosson had 12 strikeouts in relief, as UC Davis beat North Dakota State, 7-5, in a winner's bracket game of the 2003 NCAA Division II Softball Championships at the Wallace Sports Complex.
The start of the game was delayed more than three hours due to showers in the Salem area on Friday.
UC Davis improved to 50-15 on the season, while the Bison dropped to 42-10. The Aggies advance to face Georgia College & State University on Saturday at 6 p.m. GC&SU beat Shippensburg, 1-0, in Friday's late game. UC Davis is 2-0 in the national championship tournament for the first time since 1997, when it finished third.
"It's a huge win," said an elated Aggie coach Kathy DeYoung. "It's a great position to be in, especially beating a team like North Dakota State. We like the position we're in and we'd like to stay there."
UC Davis trailed 2-0 after a two-run single by right-fielder Heather Hyatt scored Jessie Benson and Meghan Potter in the second for an early Bison lead. However, Hetzner - who had three hits and knocked in three runs - had a two-run single to center in the third that tied the game. Sophomore Megan Turman then looped a single down the right-field line that scored Hetzner for a 3-2 UC Davis lead.
Turman's single to left scored two more in the fourth but the Aggies' 5-2 lead would be short-lived as North Dakota State rallied against Churchwell, who started the game for UC Davis. A wild pitch scored one run in the fourth, while shortstop Molly Pufall's two-run home run to center in the fifth and chased Churchwell.
Rosson came in and was dominate the rest of the way, recording at least 10 strikeouts for the fifth time this season. From the fifth until the eighth, she retired 10 straight outs by strikeout and allowed just one batter on base.
"(Amy) came in and did a great job," said DeYoung.
Rosson improved to 27-8, winning her second game of the tournament. She allowed no walks and no hits in five innings of work. UC Davis pitchers have not allowed a walk in two tournament games.
Hetzner and Turman had two hits each and drove in three runs, while Churchwell and shortstop Lindsay Roark each had a pair of hits. Potter posted a pair of hits for the Bison.
North Dakota starter Lindsey Graham went the distance for North Dakota, pitching a strong game as well. She finished with14 strikeouts, walked just two and scattered 11 hits. Graham suffered the loss and fell to 26-8.
In other games on Friday, defending champion St. Mary's (Texas) eliminated Wayne State (Mich.), 2-0, while Le Moyne (N.Y.) eliminated West Florida, 5-2.
UC Davis is participating in its fifth NCAA Finals, having finished third each of its previous four appearances. North Dakota State, which captured the 2000 NCAA Championship, will face Le Moyne on Saturday.
NOTE: UC Davis games can be listened to live via the internet by clicking on the "Listen to Softball Live" link on the main page of www.ucdavisaggies.com. That links to the schedule page. A "Listen" link is adjacent to the appropriate game on the schedule page.