Courtesy Seattle U
SEATTLE – Seattle University softball won its first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament game Saturday, beating Fordham, 1-0, on a Madison Cathcart walk-off sacrifice fly. The Redhawks then fell to Mississippi State, 7-3, in an elimination game at the University of Washington.
SU won its 40th game of the season and became the first WAC program to win an NCAA Tournament game since 2015.
Andie Larkins worked around hits in the early innings, helped by a double play on a liner to Cathcart to end the second frame. The senior pitched a 1-2-3 third to keep the game even.
Offensively, Olivia Viggiano and Kaylee Ree singled, but Fordham double plays erased the runners. In the fourth, Bailey Thompson and Ree both reached on base hits and Carley Nance hammered a line drive to deep right centerfield, but the Rams' centerfielder ran the ball down to end the frame.
Larkins continued to flummox the Rams' lineup, keeping Fordham off the board for all eight innings. In the sixth, she induced a groundout to first to get out of a two-baserunner jam. The senior tossed a 1-2-3 seventh and then issued a walk and nothing else in the eighth.
Alyson Matriotti singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Viggiano advanced her to second with a stellar sacrifice bunt. Ally Choate came through with a single to put Redhawks at the corners with one out. With the hit, Choate broke the program record for hits in a season with 75. Cathcart lofted a flyball to right, which was caught, but Matriotti sprinted home and the throw was wide, and SU celebrated its first Division I NCAA Tournament win.
Larkins pitched a complete game shutout, giving up five hits and striking out four hitters. Choate, Thompson, and Ree had two hits apiece to pace the offense.
Playing another elimination game, the Redhawks gave the ball to Larkins. She hurled two scoreless frames at the Bulldogs before finding trouble in the third. MSU scored three runs to take control of the contest.
Seattle U could not respond in its half of the third, but Larkins worked around a single in the fourth to put down the Bulldogs. Thompson then led off the fourth with smash to left field, driving a home run well over the fence to cut into the MSU margin.
In the fifth, the Bulldogs hit a two-run home run to go ahead, 5-1. SU removed Larkins from the game, as the Redhawks came on to the field to give the senior an ovation as she left for the final time in her SU career.
MSU added two more runs in the top of the sixth, but Cathcart hammered a towering homer down the right field line to open SU's half. After an out, Ree came up and laced a home run to right center in her final collegiate at-bat. She also broke the program's career runs record on the play.
Thompson led with two hits, while Cathcart added a home run and a walk.