With its offense still hibernating, Chapman relied upon a freshman pitcher to keep its NCAA Division III title hopes alive.
Catie Lacy gave up seven hits, battled out of trouble and made two unearned runs stand up for Chapman in a 2-0 victory over St. Thomas in an elimination game of the NCAA West Regional softball playoffs Friday at Hart Park.
Chapman (32-7), needs to win twice today and once more Sunday to earn a trip to the NCAA finals May 14-17 in Salem, Va. St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minn.) ended 33-13.
In an elimination game at noon today, top-seeded Chapman will play fifth-seeded Lawrence of Appleton, Wis., the team that upset the Panthers in the first round. At 2 p.m., the winner of that game will play Buena Vista of Storm Lake, Iowa, which defeated Lawrence, 3-2, in nine innings Friday.
"Catie Lacy will start for us against Lawrence," Chapman Coach Janet Lloyd said. "She's not dominating, but she's on track right now."
Lacy (12-1) walked two and struck out five to help buoy the Panthers, whose offense continued to struggle.
Chapman entered the tournament averaging 6 1/2 runs and hitting .362. But Chapman has mustered only four hits in each of its first two games, and its four hitters in the middle of the lineup are hitless in 24 at-bats.
That's especially bothersome considering Chapman's big run producers--All-Americans Stephanie Carew (.487 batting average, 11 home runs, 39 runs batted in), and Jessamine Maiben (.382, 2, 28)--are hitless in 12 at-bats.
"This is hard for both of them," Lloyd said. "But they'll get to go against the pitcher that started their slump, so we'll see what they're made of."
Friday, Chapman scored two runs in the bottom of the second when St. Thomas pitcher Kelly Weyandt's errant throw on a grounder by Cindy Bemis enabled Katie Chauvin and Shannon Carlson to score.
Chapman's defense made no such mistakes, helping Lacy out of trouble. Catcher Jenni Bankus threw out two baserunners and Carew turned a line drive into a double play.
In the NAIA Far West Regional:
Southern California College 1, Hawaii Pacific 0--Sarah Waters scored on a passed ball in the eighth inning as the Vanguards (47-10) moved within one victory of the regional title. Jen Houston, who had a no-hitter before giving up a hit in the eighth, improved to 21-4.
Southern California College eliminated Pt. Loma Nazarene with a 3-2 victory in nine innings earlier Friday. Heather Rogers' triple in the ninth inning drove in Chrissy Vega with the winning run.