Home Official News Releases Drake softball team defeated by Western Illinois in NCAA tournament

Drake softball team defeated by Western Illinois in NCAA tournament

photo of Kristin Birocci
Kristin Birocci

ILL. –
A two-out,
two-run home run by Michelle Neubauer in the bottom of the sixth inning broke a
1-1 tie lifting Western Illinois to a 3-1 victory over Drake in NCAA Tournament
softball action on Saturday, May 17, at Sharon J. Drysdale Field.

game-winning hit was the first homer of the season for Neubauer, who extended
the Westerwinds’ season at 15-32, while concluding Drake’s campaign at 29-26.

Brynne Dordel (Chanhassen, Minn./Chaska) was rolling in the sixth retiring the first two
batters on groundouts before a walk to Julie DePolo opened the door for
Neubauer’s heroics.

DePolo gave the Westerwinds a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second connecting
on a 2-1 Dordel offering for her fourth home run of the season over the wall in

Bulldogs responded with a salvo of their own in the top of the third inning as
Kelsey Kahler (North
Liberty, Iowa/Clear Creek Amana) dropped down a perfect bunt to begin the
frame. She moved into scoring position swiping second base before sophomore
Carrie Hatfield (Des
Moines, Iowa/East) advanced her to third on a sacrifice bunt. Coming through
with a two-out single up the middle to square the contest at one was senior
Kristin Birocci (Des
Moines, Iowa/Lincoln).

The game
remained tied over the next two frames before Western Illinois started a
two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back singles. With
runners on first and second, Samantha Valentine tagged a 0-1 Dordel pitch for
what off the bat looked destined for a bases clearing double. Birocci though
refused to give up on the ball making a sprawling diving catch going to her
left to thwart the rally.

and fellow senior
Marilyn Buss (West Des
Moines, Iowa/Valley) each recorded a base hit in their final game donning the
Drake uniform.

struck out three, while suffering the loss to fall to 19-12 in going the
distance for the Bulldogs. Lori Pankratz notched the victory for Western
Illinois and upped her ledger to 9-13.