HOUSTON – A squeeze bunt in the second inning scored a run for Emporia State and that was all the offense the Hornets needed to post a 1-0 victory and advance in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship at Memorial Park. 

Emporia State (46-16) advances to play St. Edward’s at 3 pm, while South Atlantic Region champion Francis Marion concludes their season with a record of 39-16. 

Emporia State manufactured a run in the bottom of the second inning as third baseman Miranda Campbell led off with a double to right field and was sacrificed to third by shortstop April Huddleston. Right fielder Shelbe Hughes then placed a perfect squeeze bunt to score Campbell and put the Hornets up 1-0. 

The two pitchers, Francis Marion’s Michaela Wolf and Emporia State’s Samantha Sheeley, dueled it out from there. Francis Marion would record just two additional hits in the game, one by left fielder Jessica Birchmeier in the third inning and one from right fielder Stevie Arrand in the fifth, but neither runner was able to advance past second base. 

Wolf took the loss for the Patriots, finishing her season with a 29-13 record. She allowed just three hits and struck out five without issuing a walk. Winning pitcher Samantha Sheeley from Emporia State scattered three hits, striking out seven without walking a batter in the game. 

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