RALEIGH, N.C. -- Nikki Conway's walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning let top-ranked St. Thomas post a 5-1 win over Muskingum in today's elimination game at the Division III national championship.
Muskingum was one out away from sending the game to the 11th, but that one out was senior al-American Conway, who has been virtually unstoppable in Raleigh. St. Thomas loaded the bases with two outs for Conway, who drew a 3-1 count from Muskingum starter Erica Hoyt. Conway took the next pitch over the left field fence, meaning the Tommies will get a second chance at Rutgers-Camden, the team that sent them to the loser's bracket last night. St. Thomas will have to beat Rutgers-Camden today and then repeat the feat tomorrow morning to take its third straight crown.
Muskingum missed another opportunity in the ninth, when they scored one run in the top of the inning, but could not prevent St. Thomas from answering in the bottom half of the frame.
St. Thomas outhit the Muskies 12-4 but stranded 13 runners in the third through ninth innings. They had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh but a squeeze attempt got a force out at home, and a pop out ended the threat.
Muskingum had a one-out double in the top of the fifth but Janet Nagle got a pop-out and a ground out to end the threat.
Janet Nagle retired 24 of the 28 batters she faced, with two hits, two walks and two St. Thomas errors.
The first championship game is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.