Tricia Vogel blasted a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning to give No. 17 Emporia State a 5-1 elimination-game victory over Abilene Christian here Friday night in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament.
The Hornets forced extra innings with a two-strike, two-out run-scoring single by Taylor Zordel in the bottom of the seventh inning and finally prevailed in the tense struggle with Vogel?s massive blast in the 10th.
ESU improved to 41-10 and moved into Sunday?s 2 p.m. finals against No. 2 Central Oklahoma (41-5). The Bronchos need one win to advance to next weekend?s best-of-three series against the South Central Regional I champion, while the Hornets will have to win twice.
The Wildcats ended their season at 30-18.
ACU threatened in the top of the 10th after putting runners on first and third with one out, but pitcher Karley Schmelzer got out of the jam thanks to a fine play by third baseman Jennifer Heerey on a hard-hit line drive by Sara Vaughn for the third out.
ESU then won it in the bottom of that frame, loading the bases on a lead-off double by Andrea Piezuch, a bunt single by Jessica Brewer and an intentional walk to Stephanie Goodwin. That brought Vogel to the plate and she blasted a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall for her ninth homer of the season.
ESU, which beat the Wildcats 1-0 in Thursday?s first round, trailed 1-0 entering the seventh and stayed alive on Zordel?s clutch base hit. Taylor Reichard drew a lead-off walk, went to second on Kendra Gifford?s one-out sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on Zordel?s two-strike, two-out line-drive single to left field.
Schmelzer (20-4) earned the pitching win in relief, giving up just two hits in 5.2 innings. Piezuch and Brewer had three hits apiece to lead ESU?s 12-hit attack.
ACU starter Peyton Mosley (11-9) tied a season high with 9.0 innings pitched, struck out four, and walked two on 134 pitches.
Lauren Sharp started for the Hornets and lasted 4.1 innings until being lifted in favor of Schmelzer. Sharp surrendered five hits plus a wild pitch in the fourth that scored Courtney Flanary from third.
Flanary led the Wildcat offense with two hits.
Information provided by ACU athletics department.