Softball advances to College World Series

The 13th-ranked Washington University softball team is headed to the College World Series for the first time in school history after defeating No. 17 Wartburg College, 2-0, at the 2007 NCAA Regional on May 13 in Decorah, Iowa.

Washington U. (32-5), which won its 22nd-consecutive game, will play its first-round College World Series game at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, Va. on Friday, May 18, against an opponent to be determined.

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“This is very exciting. We have a long road ahead of us at the College World Series, but we are ready,” said Washington University head coach Leticia Pineda-Boutté. “Our team came together at the right time this weekend.”

Senior pitcher Laurel Sagartz threw her fourth complete game of the tournament, allowing six hits while striking out 10. Sagartz, who improved to 23-1, was also 0-for-1 at the plate with three walks.

The Bears jumped ahead for the fourth-consecutive game in the top of the second when freshman Ashton Hitchcock singled to center scoring junior Karli Stander.

Wartburg, which ended its season with a 31-8 record, had its best chance to score in the fifth inning. Ali Hartzler singled to left with one out, and Ellie Petersen reached on an error by Sagartz. Ashley Orris beat out an infield hit to load the bases, but Sagartz got Ashley Steines to fly-out and Steph Howe on a strikeout.

“Getting out of the jam in the fifth inning was huge for our team,” said Pineda-Boutté. “One base hit could have opened the game up for them.”

In the top of the sixth, the Bears rallied with two outs to produce an insurance run. Stander bunted for a hit and freshman Carter Malouf followed with a single to right field. Hitchcock came up with the big hit again with an RBI single down the left field line to make it 2-0.

Hitchcock was 2-for-3 with two RBI, while junior Laura D’Andrea added two hits in the victory. D’Andrea and Malouf joined Sagartz on the All-Tournament Team.

“I go up and hit every time the same way, no matter if anyone is on base or not,” Hitchcock said. “It was a great team effort today, and if it was not for the people who got on in front of me, I would not have been able to drive them in.”