NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Christopher Newport scored a run in the second and two more unearned runs in the fifth and held off Virginia Wesleyan 3-1 in the first game of the best-of-three Super Regional round of the NCAA Division III softball tournament at Captains Park.
The winner of the series will advance to the final eight and the National Finals next week in Marshall, Texas.
“Obviously, it’s always good to get a first win in any series,” said CNU softball coach Keith Parr. “So we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow, still. It’s one of those things where we’re in a good spot, but again, we’ve got a ton of work to do tomorrow against a good team.”
Caroline Pollock’s double to right-center drove in Kendall Bentley from first to open the scoring for the Captains, who got a pair of unearned runs in the fifth to extend their lead to 3-0.
Abby Rochette led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and scored on a fielder’s choice from Nicole Apai. The Captains (30-10) scored later in the inning thanks to a wild pitch from Marlins’ pitcher Lauren Bible, allowing Pollock to score. Pollock had reached base on a throwing error.
Kate Alger was dominant in the circle for CNU, allowing just two hits, one of those a homer from the Marlins’ Alison Pollack for the Marlins’ only run in the top of the seventh. Alger is now 15-5 overall.
Bible, a sophomore right-hander, allowed three runs on five hits for Virginia Wesleyan (38-12), but just one of those runs was earned. She fell to 15-2 on the season.
The two teams, which have won four of the past six national titles in Division III softball, will play the second game in the best-of-three series at 10 a.m. Saturday at Captains Park, with gates opening at 9 a.m. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) and will be available at the gate, cash only.
No. 13 Virginia Wesleyan will be looking to stave off elimination in game two. Should the Marlins win, game three would be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, also at Captains Park.
The two teams faced off last season in Super Regional, with the Captains winning the first two games to advance to the National Finals. Earlier this season, the two teams split a pair of games
Christopher Newport, ranked No. 10 in the nation, are the defending national champions after finishing 47-1 last season.
“We’re just really close as a team,” Alger said. “And then, we’re always there to back each other up no matter what happens.”