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Salem, Va. — St. Thomas exploded for eight runs over the third and fourth innings to knock off Cortland State 10-2 in six innings in the final game of the opening round of the 2004 NCAA Division III National Championship tournament. 

Nikki Conway had an explosive night for St. Thomas (44-4) hitting, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. 

The five-run third started with Conway’s double to right center that scored Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Katie Wiberg. After a Michelle Wong groundout and a Kristi Huegel fielder’s choice made it 4-0, Wiberg stepped up and capped the inning with a single to right that scored Mandi Evans. 

The next inning the Tommies, who extended their win streak to 38 games, scored three more behind another Conway RBI double, Kaja Martinson’s run-scoring single to short and a throwing error that plated Fitzpatrick. 

Cortland State (37-8) was paced at the plate by Lara Stone. Stone stands a hit short of the 200-career hit mark after going 1-for-2 with an RBI. 

Stephanie Adamshick had difficulty finding the plate, as she suffered the loss after giving up five runs, three earned, and only one hit in two and a third. Janet Nagle, who plated the winning run on an RBI single in the sixth, picked up the win. Nagle, the sophomore, won here 28th straight start as she went the full six innings and gave up just two runs on four hits while striking out five. 

St. Thomas advances to face Muskingum in Saturday’s nightcap at 6:30 p.m. EDT. The two teams met in LaGrange, Ga., at the 2004 NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic, and the Muskies prevailed 5-0. Cortland State will face Wheaton in an elimination contest tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

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