SALEM, Ore. -- There will be a new national champion in Division II softball.
All-American Susan Churchwell hit a walk-off home run in the eighth inning as UC Davis defeated defending national champion St. Mary's at the 2003 NCAA Division II Softball Championships.
Churchwell also picked up her 23rd win of the year, returning to the game in the seventh after Amy Rosson threw 4 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.
UC Davis will face the winner of the Georgia College and State University-North Dakota State game in championship play tonight at 6 p.m. PDT. An Aggie loss would force a winner-take-all title game on Monday at noon.
"I am very proud of this team," UC Davis head coach Kathy DeYoung said. "We could have just folded when we were down. This game could have easily gone the other way, but they fought all the way back."
St. Mary's used a big second inning to take a 3-0 lead, and looked to be in control with All-American Kym Kling in the circle. UC Davis scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game.
"They were able to score when they got runners on," said St. Mary's head coach Donna Fields, whose team finishes the season 50-12. "Anytime a team gets around to the plate four times it is hard to get them off balance. They finally got things rolling."
The Aggies started the sixth frame with three consecutive singles, and had five hits in the inning capped off when Churchwell singled up the middle to score Jessica Miller.
"Without that hit, she wouldn't have had the opportunity to hit the home run," DeYoung said.
Kling was touched for 11 hits in six innings to suffer only her fourth loss of the season. She did manage to deliver her first hit of the series with a two RBI single in the second, but her batting average dropped from .427 to .395 in the tournament.