Nevada Beats Purdue, Advances To Championship Game
LOS ANGELES The Nevada softball team advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Purdue in an elimination game.
Nevada (44-17), ranked No. 20/22 and seeded second in the regional will take on top seed UCLA, ranked third and fifth nationally, at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday on ESPNU. Nevada will need to beat the Bruins twice to claim the regional title and advance to the Super Regionals. The “if necessary” game would be after the first game on Sunday.
Sophomore Katie Holverson tossed a three-hitter for five innings and earned the win. She moved her record to 22-6 and tied the school single-season record for victories (Jordan McPherson had 22 in 2006). She struck out seven and walked three in tossing five shutout frames.
Senior Richelle Villescas came on for the final two innings to earn her first career save. She gave up a single run in the seventh inning but preserved the victory or Nevada, which advance to its first-ever NCAA Regional championship.
Freshman Noelle Micka collected two hits while Sam Bias and Kelsey Starr each drove in a run for the Wolf Pack.
Both teams missed opportunities to score early in the game as both starting pitchers struggled with control. Through four innings, the teams combined for just four hits, but 11 runners left on base.
The game was a scoreless tie when Nevada finally broke through in the fifth inning. Noelle Micka started with a leadoff double and then Brittany Puzey singled to put runners on the corner with nobody out. Vanessa Briones then hit a ground ball to second and Micka was thrown out at the plate. After Britton Murdock walked to load the bases, Sam Bias lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored Puzey and gave Nevada a 1-0 lead. Kelsey Starr followed with a single to right field that scored Briones for a 2-0 Wolf Pack advantage.
For more on the Nevada softball team and the NCAA Regional, visit www.nevadawolfpack.com and the Wolf Pack’s “NCAA Region Headquarters.” The online feature has stories, stats, photos and more, including a daily blog from senior infielder Kristin Stith.