Carley Nance of Seattle University hit a walkoff grand slam to cap an 8-7 comeback win over New Mexico State on Friday as the Redhawks advanced to the Western Athletic Conference softball tournament championship game at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
NMSU (32-21) grabbed a 4-0 lead early and held a 7-4 advantage going into the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Madison Cathcart drew a walk. Bailey Thompson and Kaylee Ree followed with singles to load the bases for Nance. Working an eight-pitch at-bat to a full count, Nance drilled a fly ball to right center, with the blast clearing the fence and sending the Redhawks into pandemonium at home plate.
With the win, Seattle U (38-15) heads to its second WAC championship game in three seasons. It will face New Mexico State, Grand Canyon or CSU Bakersfield on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. SU will have two chances to win one game to claim the WAC tournament crown.
Seattle U tied its season record for wins with 38. SU has won seven straight, including five in walkoff fashion.
Shianne Smith (9-4) pitched 22/3 innings of relief, holding the Aggies to one run and striking out four batters. Nance, Thompson and Cherise Silvan had two hits apiece.
Huskies blank Stanford
The second-ranked Washington softball team shut out Stanford, winning 8-0 in five innings after a six-run fifth triggered the run rule at Husky Softball Stadium.
Washington (44-7, 19-4 Pac-12) has a chance to record its second season with 20 conference wins Saturday at noon against Stanford.
Gabbie Plain (19-2) pitched a two-hitter for the Huskies, striking out nine Stanford (32-17, 8-12) batters and walking none.
Morganne Flores, Sami Reynolds and SilentRain Espinoza combined for six hits and six RBI, with Reynolds ending the game on a line-drive single in the fifth. Kaija Gibson reached base in every plate appearance, going 1 for 1 with two walks and a run scored.
Washington (25-19, 10-12 Pac) led 9-0 after five innings and went on to post a 12-5 victory over Utah (12-29, 4-21) at Husky Ballpark. Nick Kahle bashed a pair of home runs, including a three-run shot in the seventh. Ramon Bramasco had three hits for the Huskies and scored three runs. Michael Petrie had two hits and drove in three runs.
• An offensive blitz from WAC leader New Mexico State (35-12, 17-6) saw Seattle University take a 21-7 defeat at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Jacob Prater and Connor O’Brien both went 2 for 4 and scored a combined three runs for the Redhawks (12-36, 7-16).
• Washington State (10-34-1, 2-19-1 Pac-12) dropped the series opener 6-2 to top-ranked UCLA (39-8, 17-5) at Bailey-Brayton Field. The Cougars received an RBI single from Dillon Plew, a sacrifice fly from Garrett Gouldsmith and Danny Sinatro singled, stole a base and scored a run.
• Host Gonzaga hit three home runs, including a go-ahead solo shot from Ernie Yake in the eighth inning, to secure a 7-6 victory over Lamar. The Zags (26-20) had a no-hitter going through the fifth from starter Nick Trogrlic-Iverson, but Lamar (16-32) battled its way back with a five-run sixth.
Track and field
Scout Cai of Seattle Pacific won the pole vault with a meet-record clearance at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships in Monmouth, Ore. The Falcon junior got over the bar at 12 feet, 10 inches.
Freshman teammate Madison Licari made it a 1-2 Falcon finish with a personal-best mark of 11-10½.
SPU also got second-place finishes from Kaylee Mitchell in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and from Katherine Walter in the 10,000.
The Falcons have the team lead with 66 points, and Central Washington is second with 53.