Katie Kasubke homered and drove in four runs, while Erica Nagel recorded three hits, to lead No. 8 seed Loyola University Chicago (27-25) to a 6-1 victory over No. 5 seed Evansville (20-33) today in the opening game of the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Softball Championship at Marian Kneer Stadium on the campus of Illinois State University. With the win, the Ramblers, who are now 4-1 all-time in MVC Tournament games at Marian Kneer Stadium, advance to face fourth-seeded Wichita State tomorrow.
How It Happened
Loyola jumped on Evansville from the outset, with Shannon McGee reaching on an error before Erica Nagel slapped a single through the left side in the top of the first inning. Katie Kasubke was able to work a full count before crushing a long home run over the fence in center to provide starting pitcher Kiley Jones with a 3-0 lead before she even threw a pitch. The Purple Aces slowed Loyola's momentum and countered in the bottom of the first by cutting into the Ramblers' lead on Morgan Florey's RBI single to right.
Evansville threatened in the fourth when Chandra Parr doubled off the fence in right center with one out, but Jones was able to escape damage by getting Bailee Bostic to fly out to center before retiring Susan Norris on a one-hopper right back to the circle.
Loyola padded its lead came in the fifth when McGee and Nagel tallied back-to-back one-out singles in advance of Alyssa Mannucci reaching on a fielder's choice to load the bases with one out. Kasubke worked a base on balls from Florey before Jamie O'Brien's RBI fielder's choice pushed the LU lead to 5-1. The Ramblers added one more tally for good measure on an Evansville error before the inning ended.
A Look At The Numbers
- Kasubke's first-inning home run was her sixth of the year.
- Nagel finished the day 3-for-4.
- Jones scattered six hits and got 14 ground ball outs en route to her 19th win of the season.
Loyola will face No. 4 seed Wichita State tomorrow at 11 a.m.