Kim Sanders' RBI single in the eighth inning scored Louisville Slugger/NFCA First-Team All-American Jill Jeranko with the winning run as third-seeded Chapman knocked off Muskingum, the tournament's No. 6 seed, 2-1 at the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Raleigh, N.C.
With one away in the first extra frame, Jeranko reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second after Meredith Cipolla was hit by a pitch. Sanders took the outside pitch and leaped toward second base as Jeranko crossed the plate with the winning run.
"I was due," Sanders said. "This was my big opportunity. The last thing I heard was coach Janet (Lloyd) tell me to take it the other way and hit an outside pitch. It was the only outside pitch I had all day, and it just looked good."
Sanders' game-winning base hit capped a 2-for-4, RBI day at the plate that complimented a stellar offensive outing from Jeranko, who was 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored.
Jeranko put Chapman (35-7) on top early as she drove in Keely Star with a single in the bottom of the first. Muskingum (41-6) answered the next inning as second-team all-American Kim Tackett doubled to plate pinch-runner Jessica Rowland.
Maggie Wilder, who started the game and allowed a run on two hits and two and a third innings, was replaced by freshman Jennifer Wendland. Wendland picked up the win as she held the Muskies to just four hits over the final five and two-thirds.
"Maggie was pressing big-time trying to get the pitches to go where she wanted them to," Lloyd said. "We were nervous bringing the freshman in to pitch a situation like that, but she really pitched well."
Muskingum had opportunities to score additional runs, but the Muskies left 10 runners stranded despite a solid outing from Erica Hoyt. Hoyt went the distance, allowing two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.
"It was a frustrating game. We left a lot of runners on. It's one of those games where you feel a little snake-bitten," Muskingum head coach Donna Newberry said. "We had all the opportunities to win and couldn't seem to take advantage of them. I thought we played well after the first inning, but we just couldn't get anything to happen."
"Erica Hoyt three-hit us to send us home last year," Lloyd said. "We were somewhat on a mission to figure out how to hit her this year. We knew she was going to throw a lot of curve balls and inside pitches, and we just needed to go with the pitch."
Chapman will face the winner of Friday night's final first-round game between Ithaca and William Paterson Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Muskingum will face the loser of that contest in a Saturday 1:30 p.m. elimination contest.
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