ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Diana Faulkner blasted a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to give Angelo State a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over St. Cloud State at the NCAA Division II Softball Tournament. With the win, the Rambelles clinch a spot in the national championship game.
Both teams struck early, scoring a run each in the first inning. Angelo State (45-10) scored compliments of a home run by Michelle Hofmann, while St. Cloud State (42-14) knotted the tally when Abby Velta turned an infield single into a scoring play. Velta reached first base safely on a hit to the shortstop, then advanced to second on a throwing error. She next stole third and took advantage of another Rambelle throwing error to plate the Huskies' first run of the game.
The Huskies pulled ahead 2-1 in the fourth inning when Megan Fuches singled to left field to drive in Abby Augdahl, who had reached base on a single through the right side two batters earlier.
The top of the seventh proved to be the pivotal point in the game, as Angelo State's Arin Spence reached base on a fielder's choice, then advanced to second on a single up the middle by Hofmann. Faulkner's blast over the left field fence emptied the bases and gave the Rambelles a 4-2 lead.
St. Cloud State made a valiant effort to regain its lead in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with a Jessica Swartout single and two walks with just one out. That was as close as the Huskies' rally would get, however, as Spence came on to retire the side and save the win for the Rambelles.
Both teams will play Sunday, with Angelo State facing Shippensburg at noon and St. Cloud State taking on
Florida Southern at 2:30 p.m.