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May 12, 2013

St. Thomas edges Vikings 5-4 in NCAA tournament

Sophomore catcher Christina Pagan gave Augustana a brief lead Sunday with a three-run double in the third, but the Vikings eventually fell 5-4 to top-seeded St. Thomas at the NCAA softball regional in Pella, Iowa.

PELLA, Iowa- Top-seeded St. Thomas held on for a 5-4 win over sixth seed Augustana Sunday at the NCAA softball regional at Central College. The loss ends the 25th-ranked Vikings' season at 32-14. St. Thomas, ranked eighth in the nation, moves on with a mark of 41-6.

The Tommies took a 2-0 lead off Augustana starter Sarah Hintz (Le Roy HS, Le Roy, Ill.) in the bottom of the first. McKenzie Wergin drove in the first run with a bases-loaded single to center and Fantashia Gates-Colbert drove in another with an infield grounder.  

After leaving a pair of runner stranded in each of the first two innings, the Vikings took the lead on Christina Pagan's (Normal West HS, Normal, Ill.) two-out, three-run double in the third. Jenna Teson (Jacobs HS, Algonquin, Ill.) started the frame by reaching on an error. One out later, Jamie Rehmert (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.) drew a walk. Cheyenne Burnett (Rock Falls HS, Rock Falls, Ill.) loaded the bases with a single to right and after St. Thomas hurler Kendra Bowe got the second out on a popup, Pagan cleared the bases with a two-bagger to left.  

The Tommies answered right back, however, taking the lead on Gates-Colbert's two-run single to right off Ashley Anderson (Sherrard HS, Viola, Ill.) in the bottom of the third.  

With Hintz back in the circle in the fourth, St. Thomas extended the lead to 5-3 on an Erin Mussett sacrifice fly.  

Laura Behnke's (St. Francis HS, Roselle, Ill.) RBI double to right in the sixth plated Jennifer Gray (Lincoln-Way East, Mokena, Ill.) to get Augustana to within a run at 5-4. Gray was pinch-running for Chaney Tambling (Dwight HS, Dwight, Ill.), who had reached on a one-out single to left.  

Coach Kris Kistler went back to Anderson to pitch the sixth. A pair of Viking errors and an intentional walk loaded the bases with no outs, but the freshman southpaw got Augustana out of the inning unscathed with a foul out to Rehmert and first and a grounder to Krista Watson (Coal City HS, Coal City, Ill.) at short, which she turned into a 6-3 double play.  

That gave the Vikings one last shot in the top of the seventh. Chelsea Lavin (Downers Grove South HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) led off by taking an 0-2 pitch into left field for a single, but Augustana was unable to advance her any further as Bowe closed things out.  

In addition to Pagan's bases-clearing double, Behnke and Lavin each went 2-for-4. Hintz and Anderson each went three innings in the circle, with Hintz taking the loss to end the season 13-8. Bowe went the distance for the Tommies and improved to 19-4.