Higbie Keys Roanoke Win Over Luther
Maroons to Meet Defending Champions Linfield in Game 12
SALEM, Va. --- Behind the arm and bat of Kelly Higbie, Roanoke College advanced to play again in the 2012 NCAA DIII Softball Championship after defeating sixth-ranked Luther College, 2-0, on Sunday.
The Maroons move on to play in the 7:30 p.m. game Sunday evening as they face off against #3 Linfield College (44-6). Linfield lost to Pacific Lutheran on Saturday afternoon, then defeated Tufts in an elimination game on Sunday afternoon. Luther College exits the NCAA DIII Softball Championship with a record of 41-9.
Roanoke now holds a 2-2 record against teams from Iowa. This contest was the first meeting between the two teams, where the Maroons now hold a 1-0 series record. With this victory, Roanoke has earned its fifth 35-win season. The two wins this Roanoke squad has earned in the NCAA Championships are the most by any Roanoke softball team that have reached the championships.
The Maroons had been held hitless until the bottom of the third inning when Kelly Higbie doubled to right center field. However, Luther pitcher Becca Girvan was able to shut down the rest of the side. After three, Roanoke and Luther were tied at 0-0.
The Maroons finally hit their stride in the bottom of the fourth inning. Alea Bier was walked as the lead off batter. Hollee Warlitner laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Bier to second. Stephanie Clark reached base after being hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. Caitlin Manuel hit one in the infield and reached base on a throwing error. Higbie hit a two-run single over the shortstop's head to score Bier and Clark for a 2-0 advantage.
Roanoke wasn't in the clear after fourth though, as Luther put two runners on base in each the fifth and sixth innings. But the Maroons defense kept the Norse from scoring on either occasion. In the top of the seventh, Luther's Paige Comentino singled with one out. The next two batters couldn't provide help, as they fouled and grounded out respectively, giving the Maroons the 2-0 victory.
Higbie earned her 36th complete game of the season and won her 30th game. She becomes the third pitcher in the NCAA this season to win 30 games. On the offensive end, Higbie was 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Warlitner went 1-for-2 with a double over the bag at first base.
Luther finished with seven hits as Abby Christian and Comentino each went 3-for-3. Girvan gave up two runs off four hits and struck out six.
For more information on the NCAA Division III Softball Championship, click here.
--- This release is courtesy of the Roanoke College sports information department. ---