May 18, 2003
SALEM, Ore. - Senior Susan Churchwell belted a two-run walk-off home run in the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon as UC Davis beat defending champion St. Mary's (Texas), 5-3, at the NCAA Division II Softball Championships, giving the Aggies an opportunity to win their first-ever softball championship on Sunday night.
UC Davis trailed, 3-0, before rallying in the sixth inning to tie the game as Churchwell singled in Jessica Miller with two outs.
The Aggies, who improved to 52-15, will face Georgia College & State University 6 p.m.. GC&SU beat North Dakota State, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon. As the only unbeaten team remaining in the tournament, the Aggies will have to be defeated twice in order not to capture the NCAA title. A second game, if necessary, would be played on Monday at noon.
Churchwell's 14th home run of the season came of All-American Kym Kling with two outs and Jennifer Borrelli on first. Churchwell belted the roundtripper deep over the right-field fence.
"I was looking for something and as (Kym) started her motion, I knew it was coming inside so I stepped back," said Churchwell.
UC Davis trailed 3-0 after the Lady Rattlers scored three times on three hits in the second. Kling had a two-run single to left after Amy Rosson relieved Churchwell with the bases loaded. In the sixth, UC Davis rallied for three runs on five hits. Sue Yale started with a single, Miller's single to left brought in a run and Borrelli also had an RBI hit setting up Churchwell's heroics in the sixth.
Rosson pitched a strong 4.2 innings, striking out seven and walking only one before Churchwell came back to pitch the seventh and eighth innings. Churchwell picked up the win, improving to 23-6.
UC Davis making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Finals tournament and is guaranteed its best finish ever. The Aggies were third in their previous four appearances.
UC Davis beat Georgia College & State University on Saturday night..